FDA’s silence over ‘banku deaths’ in Volta Region unacceptable – Alabi

FDA’s silence over ‘banku deaths’ in Volta Region unacceptable – Alabi
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | Email: jerry.mordy@myjoyonline.com, Twitter: @jerrymordy
Date: 13-03-2018 Time: 02:03:31:pm
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The President of Consumer Advocacy Centre (CAC) has described as unacceptable, the delay by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in making public the results of tests conducted on "poisonous corn flour" from Akakpokope in the Volta Region.

Prof Goski Alabi is also not satisfied that more than 10 days after collecting samples of the flour for laboratory examination, the FDA has failed to issue a public alert on "killer food substance" in the village near Sogakope in South Tongu District.

At least six persons from two families have been reported dead after they bought the flour from a corn mill operator to prepare popular ‘Akple’ and ‘Banku’ meals with okro soup.  

The victims started complaining of stomach upset shortly after eating the food on Thursday, March 01, 2018.

Read: Banku and okro soup deaths get murkier; child dies after consuming staple food 

Two families each have lost three members over the suspected contaminated corn flour used to prepare the 'Akple'.

Both husbands have lost their wives and two children. One husband, Mawunyo Tey, was inconsolable when Joy News team visited his family.

The other who is the corn mill operator is in critical condition. His wife and two children are also dead.

The Food and Drugs Authority subsequently announced that it has dispatched a team to the community to try and identify the source of the problem, amidst widespread panic among residents.

Read: No cooking in Volta village where 'contaminated Akple' wipes out six

Photo: Mawunyo Tay is husband of the second family which bought corn flour from a mill.

Read: Akakpokope 'banku deaths': FDA begins investigations

No communication has come from the end of the food and beverages regulator.

CAC in a release Tuesday accused the Authority of not attaching seriousness to the matter, more than a week after collecting the samples.

“Ten (10) good days after such a major incident, the FDA has only visited Akakpokope, just to collect samples of the poisonous corn dough. Using ten days to collect samples and not being able to issue a public alert or produce the first stage of the test results from the laboratory, in order to guide consumers, is not good enough,” the statement read.

The Centre has called on the "FDA to be more responsive in such matters with a rapid alert system in such suspected case of food poisoning.”

It has also called on the Authority to  “ramp up its Rapid Response strategies and be able to resolve such cases within a turnaround time.”

“We demand that the FDA issues a public alert in order to inform the general public and in particular consumers of corn dough, to allay the fears of the general public,” the statement added. 

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