The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in the Upper West Region of Ghana has directed bread bakers in the area to obtain operational licenses for their facilities. Failure to comply with this directive could result in the closure of their operations.
During a training session for bakers in the region, the Acting Upper West Regional Head of the FDA, Mr. Kelvin Dafaari Sungkpal emphasized the need for bakers to observe basic operational standards. This includes good personal and environmental hygiene, proper storage of raw materials and finished products, and keeping accurate records.
Of the 80 bakers who attended the training, only 18 had obtained operational licenses. Mr. Sungkpal stressed that before a baking facility can be licensed, it must have a business registration certificate fit for purpose. Additionally, the facility must not be located near public toilets, open gutters, or refuse dumps. Bakers must also undergo food handlers’ tests and meet other requirements before obtaining a license.
Furthermore, bread bakers in the Upper West Region must register their products with the FDA to sell in any part of the country, thus expanding their market base. Mr. Sungkpal stated that the FDA is legally mandated to license bakeries and register their bread. Failure to register bread products renders them illegal, and bakers can be sued.
Mr. Austin Tilliribey, a Regulatory Officer with the Upper West Regional office of the FDA, advised bakers not to expose the baked bread to flies before packaging. He also stressed the importance of proper record-keeping of production, including cleaning schedules, the inflow of raw materials, number of suppliers, and equipment maintenance.
In addition, the transportation of bread in public vehicles is discouraged as it could lead to contamination of the product. The FDA encourages bakers to acquire vehicles solely for the transportation of bread.
For the most part, the Upper West Region was the only region in Ghana without any registered bread products. This limitation reduced the market opportunities for producers. The FDA’s efforts to ensure all bakers obtain operational licenses and register their bread will improve market opportunities for all producers.
In a nutshell, Mr. Isaac Sunseo, the Regional Chairman of the Bread Bakers Association, commended the FDA for the training and urged the authority to take action against those who deliberately refuse to obtain operational licenses. It is unfair for some to compete in the same market without obtaining licenses while others comply with the regulations.