Data from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) show that only 1,079 food service establishments across the nation have been issued with the FDA’s Food Hygiene Permits.
The establishments are restaurants, food joints, street-vended food, chop bars and catering facilities.
According to the data, only 1,079 food vendors met the FDA’s minimum food safety requirement out of about 5 ,000 street vendors trained in good hygiene practices from 2021 to ensure that food sold everywhere was safe.
A Food Hygiene Permit is an approval given to a catering facility after meeting basic hygiene requirements in the FDA’s Code for Hygienic Practices for food service establishment.
Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
She said it was illegal for restaurants, for instance, not to display a Food Hygiene Permit at the point of sale, saying the act could attract a fine.
“It is required that all food service establishments display Food Hygiene Permits at the point of sale, the idea of the permit is to boost the confidence of the public when buying the food,” she stated.
Mrs Darko said the safety of food sold by vendors had become a major concern and called on all stakeholders responsible for ensuring food safety like the local assemblies to help enforce bylaws for the safety of all.
She urged food vendors to ensure that they prepared and sold food in clean and hygienic conditions, stating that hot foods must always be kept hot while salads sold to the public be kept on ice.
“Before you serve any food, wash your hands with soap under running water, make sure you have clean napkins and clean utensils,” she added.
Mrs Darko said the form to apply for food safety training was available at any of the FDA offices nationwide.
She said the FDA would this year focus more on street-vended foods and hoped to train and issue 1,000 Food Hygiene Permits in Accra alone.
Checks by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the Tema Lorry Station in Accra showed that not even one food service establishment at the lorry terminal and its environs had a Food Hygiene Permit.
Some food vendors only had stickers from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) displayed at the point of sale.
The FDA in 2022 launched a National Food Safety Policy to ensure safe and suitable food for consumers.
The policy is expected to strengthen food safety governance; collaboration for food safety, promote and ensure harmonisation and the enforcement of laws and regulations of food safety in Ghana in the next five years.