FDA cracks down on turkey tail sellers in Suhum, Nsawam, Adoagyiri
In an operation with the Ghana Police Service some retailers and sellers of the meat were arrested and cartons of turkey tail confiscated.
In Ghana, the fried turkey tail is commonly referred to as “Tsofi.”
Health experts say this particular poultry product has a high fat content of over 15 percent, which, if consumed in large quantities, could potentially increase the risk of developing cancers in the lungs, breast, colon, and brain.
At the scene of the exercise, the team faced resistance from the retailers, who greeted them with insults and accusations of political interference.
They claimed that the intention was to make life difficult for members of certain political parties by collapsing their businesses.
Meanwhile, the Authority told the Ghana News Agency that it remained dedicated to ensuring consumer safety at all times.
Despite the widespread public awareness of the health hazards of selling turkey tail, there was still a thriving market for the meat, Madam Anita Owusu-Kuffour, the Eastern Regional Acting Head of the FDA, said.
According to her, in 1999, the Ministry of Trade and Industry issued a communique to all importers, stating that poultry and poultry products with a total fat content exceeding 15 per cent were prohibited from being imported into the country.
This indicates that they were likely smuggled in, either through unapproved routes or by falsely declaring the product content at the approved point of entry.
“We need to make it a collective responsibility to make sure such products are not available on the market for sale,” Madam Owusu-Kuffour said.
She said that those who were apprehended would be brought before the court to ensure legal compliance and serve as a deterrent to others.
The authority safely disposed of the seized meat products.
Mr. George Ampofo Ayeh, the Public Relations Officer of the FDA, Eastern Region, quoted the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851), Section 100, Subsection (3), that certain criteria must be met for a food to be considered safe for consumption.
These criteria include not containing poisonous or harmful substances, being wholesome and fit for human or animal consumption, not consisting of filthy, putrid, rotten, decomposed, or diseased substances, not being adulterated, not being injurious to health, and meeting the prescribed standards.
According to the penalty and defence section of Section 110, subsection (1), anyone who violates sections 97 to 108 is committing an offence.
The consequences for this offence include a fine ranging from 1000 to 7500 penalty units, imprisonment for a minimum of four years to a maximum of fifteen years, or both.
The FDA’s primary goal is to safeguard public health by upholding rigorous standards to ensure the safety, quality, and effectiveness of various products, including drugs, food, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemicals, clinical trials, and tobacco products.