FDA advises institutions, public to insist on valid food hygiene permits

Accra: The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has urged institutions and the public to inspect valid food hygiene permits before contracting catering institutions. The FDA said it could not guarantee the quality of operations and safety of food sold in unlicensed food service establishments, hence the need for those engaging their services to ensure those engaged were licensed. A statement signed by the FDA and copied to the Ghana News Agency asked institutional canteens or caterers who did not have food hygiene permits to immediately take steps to regularise their activities with the FDA. The statement said by applying for food hygiene permits and making their facilities available for food safety inspections would ensure that only safe food was served to the public. 'According to the FDA, a Food Service Establishment operating without a valid Food Hygiene Permit from the Authority is in violation of Section 130 (1) of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851).' Section 130 (1) of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851) states that, 'A person shall not manufacture for sale, sell, supply or store products regulated under this part except in premises registered for that purpose under this Part.' Food Service Establishment is an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption such as a restaurant, bakery, canteen, online food business, institutional caterer, chop bar and fast-food service. The FDA said canteens of schools, hospitals and all corporate institutions were to ensure that their food service facilities were inspected and licensed by FDA. The FDA cautioned that all unlicensed Food Service Establishments that failed to acquire the Food Hygiene Permit by 29th February 2024 would attract the requisite regulatory sanctions which might include the closure of facilities, fines and/or criminal prosecutions. The Authority encouraged the public to always look out for the Food Hygiene Permit, which must be displayed at the facility and visible to the public and to report Food Service Establishments that did not have the permit to the FDA. Source: Ghana News Agency