The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has urged people to pay attention to the food they consume, since unsafe food poses constant threat to the health of consumers.
“We should not be interested only in food security but also attach importance to safe food, as unwholesome food poses constant threat to consumers’ health, instead of providing nourishment,” he said, adding that achieving zero hunger for all was not just simply about providing adequate food but also ensuring safe and nutritious diet for all.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the minister by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Mr Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, at a conference to commemorate this year’s World Food Safety Day in Accra yesterday.
It was on the theme: “Save food now for a healthy tomorrow”.
It was held both in person and through a virtual platform.
Participants included stakeholders in the food production, security and safety value chain.
Among the issues discussed was the healthy approach to food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lack of collaboration
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the lack of collaboration among various stakeholders in the food safety sector was affecting the industry in the country.
He, however, said if food safety measures were effectively implemented, it would ensure that few people would fall ill to food-borne diseases.
“When I think about the savings this will make to our country, especially when most of our effort is to first mitigate the profound economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and re-set the course to achieve the SDGs, then the economic importance of food safety becomes even more evident,” Mr Agyeman-Manu added.
He said food safety had three major stakeholders — the government, the food industry and consumers — for which reason food safety could not be achieved by only one entity.
“My appeal is that we incorporate learning from past successes and failures; more importantly, forge partnerships and harness synergies today to ensure a healthier population tomorrow,” the minister said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, said the issue of food safety was a shared responsibility in which everyone had a role to play to ensure safe production, preparation and consumption.
She said a proactive approach to food safety was better than a reactive approach, where an emergency response was required.
“We are going to work efficiently and effectively together with our stakeholders to ensure that food safety issues and the well-being of the people remain our priority,” Mrs Darko added.