This year’s Food Safety Month has been launched with a call on citizens to adhere to food safety standards such as frequent washing of hands, separation of raw food from uncooked ones and thorough cooking.
Other measures include keeping food at safe temperatures and the use of safe water and raw materials for cooking.
The Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Ghana, Dr Kingsley Mickey Aryee, who launched the programme on behalf of the intersectoral Food Safety Coordinating Committee, made the call at the event in Accra yesterday.
He said the month-long celebration on the theme: “Food standards save lives”, was important because standards were required in determining the safety of food to save lives.
Dr Aryee explained that food safety hazards seeped through and stretched across grass-roots, regional, national and international levels, while food safety involved protection of food from microbial, chemical and physical hazards that might occur during various stages of food production to consumption.
He, therefore, stressed the need for the strict consideration of standards to, among others, minimise food borne illnesses, anti-microbial resistance, food insecurity and poverty.
The event, which is observed in the month of June with activities, would be commemorated on June 7, 2023.
In line with that, the intersectoral food safety coordinating committee, which comprises representatives of various government agencies and other stakeholders in the food value chain, has earmarked some activities to celebrate the month.
The activities include a quiz for second cycle schools in the Central Region, sensitisation programmes on food safety for schools, a webinar, food hygiene competition, trade fair and stakeholder engagements.
The national food safety laboratory of the Veterinary Services and the Food and Drugs Authority are the leading agencies organising the celebration with support from development partners and other stakeholders of food safety.
Dr Aryee said food was essential for the sustenance and continuity of life, be it humans, animals, plants or microorganisms, for which reason every living organism needed food to survive.
He, therefore, said that food safety must be the concern of all since unhealthy foods could be a global public health threat.
Quoting from the World Health Organisation to buttress his point, Dr Aryee said: “Food borne diseases caused 420, 000 deaths globally and 137, 000 deaths in Africa with children accounting for one-third of deaths.”
He, therefore, appealed to the media to continuously sensitise the public to food safety because “it is everyone’s business”.
Dr Aryee expressed appreciation to all partners for their support for the launch and preparations towards the commemoration of the day.