The National Health Students’ Association of Ghana has issued a statement, in line with this year’s World Health day as follows:
How safe is your food?
We deem it a great privilege to portion with you some thoughts on the theme of the World Health Day 2015, ‘Food Safety’ and the way forward for Ghana.
The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7th April to alert and educate humanity on various topical issues of health concern.
This years’s focused on food safety; which the National Health Students Association of Ghana (NAHSAG), the national representative body of all health students and fresh health graduates from the various Health Training Institutions and Universities in Ghana believes is fitting due to the increasing annual death toll from the ingestion of unsafe foods.
According to the World Health Organization, food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes over 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. As the adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ hence it is only prudent that a collective effort is geared towards the prevention of diseases associated with unsafe food.
First and foremost, we believe it is primarily incumbent on the consumer to ensure that food to be consumed is clean, well cooked, and of acceptable quality. Expiry dates on food items must be checked before purchasing or consuming. Personal hygiene including washing of hands before handling foods or eating must be strictly observed to ensure that food ingested is free from any forms of contaminants. Utensils and food surfaces must be kept clean and raw foods should be kept separate from ready-to-eat foods.
The general public is also encouraged to discard food items when its safety is doubtful.
We further encourage the government to use all means possible to ensure that foods imported and sold on the local markets are of high quality and pose no threat to health. The Ghana Standards Board, the Food and Drug Authority and the Ministry of Health should tighten their belts to ensure that Ghanaians are well protected from unsafe foods.
We want to touch on a much pressing area, which is the issue of Genetically Modified Foods. The Accra Fast Track Court on the 3rd of March, 2015 ordered the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to halt the production and sale of Genetically Modified products in the country and we wish to seize this opportunity to call upon the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to be prompt in this regard and halt the sales or Cultivation of these Genetically Modified foods until the gen on these foods and human health as well as the environmental impact has been fully attained.
It could also be reminisced that the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 1999 issued a statement banning the importation of total fat content of poultry and poultry products above 15%. Despite this proclamation, the sale of turkey tail popularly called “chofi,” among others fatty poultry products are still flourishing across the length and breadth of Ghana regardless of the potential health problems it could cause.
We once again call upon the government and all stakeholders to prosecute any individual(s) who flouts the law.
Finally we call upon all Health students/Interns/graduates/professionals to augment the effort of Government by helping in the education of the public on food safety among other health issues. This will help promote Good health which we believe is the key to a sustainable development.
Let us together ensure that, food is made safe “from farm to plate.”
Long Live NAHSAG
Long Live Mother Ghana