Is a manufacturing date required?

Some weeks ago, social media in Ghana was inundated with people sharing pictures of some packs of hot spicy sausages by Spicy Foods indicating wrong manufacturing dates on their labels.

Following widespread concerns showed by patrons of Spicy Foods, the Food and Drugs Authority (the “FDA”), which is the primary regulator of all food products in Ghana, is reported to be considering sanctioning Spicy Foods for distributing packs of hot spicy sausages with wrong manufacturing dates. It is important that manufacturers of food are informed on labelling requirements for food in Ghana.

This article seeks to provide an understanding of the labelling requirements for the registration, sale, and distribution of food products in Ghana. In Ghana, all food products must be labelled in English and display the essential dates of the products. The labelling requirements include:

  1. Essential dates

The product must indicate the date of manufacture on the label.In addition, the product must indicate the best before date, use by or the expiry date. The date of manufacture is the date on which the food becomes the product it is supposed to be.

The use by or the expiry date refers to the date after which the food cannot be consumed, therefore the food must be consumed before the date.

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The best before date refers to the date after which the food can still be consumed. Although the food may have lost some quality, they are considered safe and the food can still be consumed.

 

  1. Name of the product

The name of the product must indicate the nature of the food. Although the name may include additional words or phrases, such additional words or phrases must not mislead or confuse the consumer regarding nature and physical condition of the food.

  1. List of ingredients

The product must indicate the ingredients. The list of ingredients must be headed or preceded by an appropriate title which consists of or includes the term “ingredient.”

  1. Net content and weight

The product must indicate the net content and weight. The net content must be displayed as follows:

(i) for liquid foods, by volume; (ii) for solid foods, by weight; and (iii) for semi-solid or viscous foods, either by weight or volume.

  1. Contact details

The product must display the names and addresses of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, importer, or seller. In addition, the label must indicate the country of origin of the product.

  1. Instructions

If the food has instructions for the utilization and storage of the food, it must be indicated on the label.

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In addition to the above requirements, all manufacturers must take note of the following.

  1. Penalty

All manufacturers of food products must comply with the above, any food product which does not comply cannot be registered in Ghana.

  1. Exemptions

Although all food products must comply with the labelling requirements, some food products need not comply with all of the requirements above. For instance, spices and herbs need not display all of the requirements above.

  1. Additional requirements

Certain food products would be required to comply with additional requirements. Such food products include alcoholic beverages.

  1. Compliance with statutory obligations

If the labelling of the food product complies with the regulatory requirements highlighted above, the food product would have automatically complied with the Ghana Standards Authority’s labelling rules.

Daniel is a lawyer and an associate in the Corporate & Commercial practice group at Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah in Accra]

If you require further information on this article, please contact Daniel at dimadi@belonline.org.

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