The Ashanti Regional Office of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has held a day’s training on food contamination for cereal mix manufacturers in the Region as part of its mandate to ensure food safety.
The training which focused on aflatoxin contamination of cereals was to sensitize the participants on proper handling of cereals and the health risks that contaminated foods posed to the public.
Mrs Nora Narkie Terlabie, the Regional Head of FDA who opened the training, said it was important for the authority to periodically engage its stakeholders to ensure adherence to the right standards in the interest of public safety.
She said as a regulator, the Authority also had a responsibility to be proactive in preventing the production of unwholesome products hence the need to provide training for food and drug manufacturers.
The FDA, she noted, would continue to work closely with its stakeholders in line with its mandate to protect public health and urged the public to draw the attention of the Authority to issues that affected the safety and efficacy of products on the market.
Mr Isaac Aviah, a Senior Regulatory Officer of the FDA, said cereals and legumes were widely consumed in Africa and beyond due to their nutritional complementary value and potential to reduce malnutrition.
He said cereals and legumes amply exposed humans to ingestion of harmful naturally-produced toxicants through diet if not handled appropriately during cultivation and storage.
“These food commodities are very susceptible to mycotoxin contamination, mostly aflatoxin contamination at different stages of the agricultural chain such as pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest handling,” he pointed out.
Mr Aviah said aflatoxins were one of the major food safety challenges, adding that about 4.5 billion people across the world were at risk of chronic exposure to aflatoxin.
He said creating public awareness of the toxin, its health risk, and control methods might help minimize its prevalence while extending scientific findings to the wider public for tremendous national and personal development.
He underlined the need to educate food processors and the general public in languages they could easily comprehend by using appropriate features and food materials to enhance easy dissemination of the information
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