The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Improving Food Safety Systems Project (IFSSP) supported Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) by providing training to 26 inspection officers on good packhouse practices and certification from July 4 -10.
The objective of the training was to support the FDA to improve upon their systems for inspecting as well as certifying packhouses for food safety compliance.
Commenting on the training, Chief Executive Officer of FDA, Mrs. Delese A. A. Darko pointed out that the replacement of the Food and Drugs Law, PNDC Law 305B with the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851, expanded the definition of food and resulted in the establishment of an Agro-Products and Biosafety Department at FDA to ensure the safety of raw produce.
“Agro produce safety regulations have been further entrenched in the light of a new government directive to FDA to inspect and clear food, including agro produce imported into the country starting July 2018,” Mrs. Darko added.
The training therefore equipped the technical officers with the requisite skills they need to discharge their duties in inspecting and certifying the 38 packhouses across Ghana.
Project Director of IFSSP Mr. Nii Doodo Dodoo added “packhouse inspection and certification is critical to the food safety agenda and IFSSP is open to more collaborations with FDA to build confidence in Ghana’s export products.”
Packhouse management expert and Director of Food Safety for US-based Generation Farms Mr. Wendell Stockton conducted the training. Mr. Stockton trained the technical officers largely on the PrimusGFS standard that is benchmarked against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an industry-driven global collaboration to advance food safety.
The training covered all aspects of good processing practices and touched on food safety management systems as well as hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP), a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production to consumption of a finished product.
Mr. Stockton also worked with the FDA to revise their packhouse inspection guidelines, ensuring that the FDA has standard objective guidelines that are not subject to individual interpretation of inspection personnel.
The Improving Food Safety System Project is a Farmer-to-Farmer Program funded by USAID and awarded through Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance. The program provides market-based solutions to improve food safety standards and implements a traceability system to identify where food problems originate. The project facilitates collaboration between the public and private sector to support active growth in productivity and export trade.
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency working to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.