Mrs. Virginia Siebenrok, Chief Food Safety Quality of the World Food Programme (WFP), has urged Ghana to adopt standard local food safety quality at all locations to ensure a more harmonized food safety system. Mrs. Siebenrok made the call at a five-day WFP Africa retreat on Food Safety and Quality (FSQ) in Accra.
Food safety standards are constantly changing, and the risks and emerging risks are different depending on location. Thus, it is important to adapt a local food safety standard to ensure a more harmonized food safety system. Food safety is considered one of the corporate risks in WFP and has become very important to include in risk assessments as part of the risk registers in different WFP operations.
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that more than 91 million people fall ill each year from foodborne diseases in Africa, resulting in 142,000 deaths which contribute to one-third of the global death toll. Out of the total deaths recorded, 32,000 were mostly children under five years and 70% were diarrheal diseases caused by non-typhoidal Salmonella in Children.
Ghana has impressive food safety practices that have served as a benchmark for other locations, including some interesting and innovative ways of doing things. Therefore, it is essential to take Ghana’s example to others and implement it properly.
Food safety and quality remain the utmost concern for the WFP, as the food is purchased locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. To this end, the WFP is collaborating with local manufacturers to produce safe and healthy foods for beneficiaries of its programmes. The WFP’s local sourcing policy seeks to ensure that food products procured for vulnerable beneficiaries in countries in Africa hit by conflict, climate change, and socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are safe and meet quality standards.
Processors of foods such as grains, cereals, fortified oils, cereal blends, and peanut butter will receive support under the initiative. Additionally, the WFP is supporting two industrial food processors in the country to set up new food processing facilities while developing global-level food safety and quality management systems.
In a nutshell, it is essential for Ghana to adopt local food safety standards to ensure a more harmonized food safety system. WFP’s local sourcing policy seeks to ensure that food products procured for vulnerable beneficiaries in countries in Africa are safe and meet quality standards. The WFP is collaborating with local manufacturers to produce safe and healthy foods for beneficiaries of its programmes.