Ghana needs robust legislation to enforce effective food safety interventions – Expert

By Jibril Abdul Mumuni

Accra, March 28, GNA – Professor Saa Dittoh, an agriculture and food system economist, has advocated for a robust legislation to enforce effective food safety interventions.

He said the current legislation limited the enforcement of food safety protocols to only manufactured foods, under the Food and Drug Authority.

A robust legislation, he said, must include the enforcement of food safety protocols on food at the farm gate.

He said this during the Ghana Agrifood Systems Policy Forum, which was organised by the Data Repository and Advocacy for Policy (DARAP).

“The current law focuses on foods that have been manufactured and processed, but when you see foods that have been produced right from planting to weeding and harvesting, you carry them home. That hole there carries a lot of problems with food safety, but the FDA is not in that area.

That area must be addressed by the Agriculture Ministry. My recommendation was that we get robust regulatory legislation to involve everybody so that it is not just food processed and manufactured, even food that is produced on farms,” he said.

Prof. Dittoh also advocated for the establishment of food safety laboratories in all regions of the country to decentralise food safety enforcement regulations.

He said the enforcement of food safety regulations was not limited to the Food and Drug Authority; it required collaboration with regional directors and the Environmental Health Inspectors of the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies.

Dr. Kofi Takyi Asante, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER), in a presentation, urged the government to implement post-harvest interventions to engender growth and food security.

He said the current government interventions in the agriculture sector focused on food production without including post-harvest interventions.

The DARAP project focused on promoting the access and effective use of data and knowledge products to influence policymaking processes and outcomes.

It also contributes to evidence-led policymaking through data management services and capacity building in research data interpretation and usage, collaborating with civil society organisations.

Stakeholders from academia and industry took turns to present various policy recommendations on food safety, controlling food loss, addressing chemical usage, and the political economy of agri-food.