Food and beverage companies have been urged to incorporate safety and hazard measures so as to ensure the health and safety of the final consumer.
Speaking at a two-day training in Accra on ‘Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)’, Johnson Opuku-Boateng, Director, Business Development Services at the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), said food and beverage companies, particularly the micro, small and medium ones, were still behind in terms of hazards and safety measures.
“In terms of food safety and hazards, I wouldn’t say we are doing well, except for the multinational companies,” he said. “When you look at the micro, small and some of the medium companies, they do not have the requisite expertise to handle food safety the way it should be handled.”
HACCP, he explained, is the process of identifying, evaluating and controlling hazards that are significant for food safety. “This process will help them identify all the hazards in the process, right from the raw material to the production process, as well as how to control these hazards to ensure consumer safety.”
He said the training, organised by AGI was therefore to help build the capacity of companies to incorporate standard safety and hazard practices into their operations. He said similar sensitisation programmes had been held across the various regions, with the event in Accra been the final phase of the programme.
The training falls under the Obaasima Food Fortification project, implemented by AGI and Ghana Standards Authority and sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, German Development Cooperation and Sight and Life.
The training in Accra saw about 50 people representing about 35 companies benefit from the exercise.
The participants were taken through topics such as good maintenance practice, how to work with suppliers to get good input material and factory layout, among others, with Eurydice F. Aboagye of the Food Safety Training Centre of University of Ghana and Mr. Opoku-Boateng as resource persons.
With proper implementation of the HACCP model, he said food and beverage companies could substantially reduce poisoning and produce food that is safe for human consumption.