The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will, from February 11, 2020, begin the enforcement of a new guideline adopted to regulate the shelf life of processed food products.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting in Accra yesterday.
She said the guideline had become necessary to avoid food wastage and protect the health of consumers.
“This guideline is for all of us and it has become necessary in order to avoid an emerging trend in the food sector where food wastage has become worrisome due to the large quantities of food destroyed every year due to issues related to their shelf life,” she said.
According to her, the new guideline described the regulatory requirements of the food industry in a clear and detailed manner and sought to prevent non-compliance in the food trade business.
In an interview, the Head of Legal at the FDA, Mrs Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow, said from February 2020, the FDA would begin enforcing the guideline right from the port to prevent products with less than 60 per cent shelf life from entering the market.
“This means that imported processed food products must be more than 60 per cent away from their expiry dates by the time they get to the port,” she said.
She said the move was to ensure that processed foods imported into the country had sufficient shelf life on them.
“Right at the port, products with less than 60 per cent shelf life will not be allowed to enter the market,” she added.
In addition, Mrs Dapaah-Ntow said if a manufacturer gave a product a two-year shelf life and then “you go to the open market and realise that the product is near its expiry date, then there is also a high probability of it expiring while on the shelf”.
She said the importation of products that were near their expiry dates contributed immensely to the large quantity of expired goods on the open market.
The new guideline, she said, was, therefore, expected to address that situation by preventing products close to their sell-by dates from entering the market in the first place.
Mrs Dapaah-Ntow charged consumers to shun products that were not properly stored or displayed during the Christmas season.
She added that traders who engaged in such bad storage and display practices would change their ways when they realised that patronage of their products was low.