The Food and Drugs Board (FDB), will from October issue licenses to players in the food industry, including food vendors and hawkers, who do not satisfy prescribed health requirements.

Operators who do not have licenses would not be allowed to sell food to consumers.

Besides consumers who also purchase food from unlicensed vendors do so at their own risk.

The Head of the Food Safety Management Department of the FDB, Mrs. Maria Aba Lovelace-Johnson, disclosed this on Tuesday when the board in collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), toured some food joints in Accra to sensitise operators on food safety.

It was also to educate food vendors on the need to keep their surroundings and food clean to prevent contamination. Mrs. Lovelace-Johnson said the exercise would be on a pilot basis, beginning with food operators in Accra.

She said the health certificates currently given to food operators by the AMA were not enough because they focused more on the health condition of the vendor and not the vending and preparation sites of the food.

She explained that a vendor could be healthy at the time of going for the required tests, but could contact a contagious disease later on; hence, it was not enough to just focus on the person selling the food.

“Before we license anyone, we would want to know if the food is sold and prepared under very hygienic conditions,” she noted.

Mrs. Lovelace-Johnson explained that the names and photographs of vendors who satisfy the criteria would be on the license and thus, advised consumers to buy food from such vendors.

The license, she said had to be renewed every year to enable FDB monitor the vendors to ensure that they maintained standards.

Mr. Emmanuel Faseko, an Environmental Health Officer of the AMA, said the exercise was not meant to take people out of their jobs, but rather to ensure the health of consumers.

He said apart from the education, food vendors who did not meet the requirement would also be given a week’s notice to do the right thing, failure of which their joints would be closed down.

He expressed appreciation about the partnership between the AMA and the FDB and urged the media to help disseminate the message to the general public.

Source: The Ghanaian Times/Ghana

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