The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has warned that it may close canteens and food service units of public institutions if they operate without a valid Food Hygiene Permit from the authority. It has, therefore, cautioned all unlicensed food service establishments that failure to acquire the Food Hygiene Permit by February 29, 2024, would “attract the requisite regulatory sanctions, which may include closure of facilities, fines and/or criminal prosecutions”.
It has consequently advised canteens of schools, hospitals and all corporate institutions to ensure that their food service facilities “are inspected and licensed by the FDA”. It also advised them “to only contract the services of licensed caterers for catering of corporate meetings/lunches and daily meals for students and patients”.
The warning, the authority said, had become necessary to protect the public against chances of disease spread and epidemic outbreaks in the country or among populations. A statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Dr Delese Mimi Darko, consequently advised institutions “to insist that vendors who apply for or are awarded contracts must, as part of the institution’s requirements, provide valid Food Hygiene Permits.
Institutional canteens or caterers who do not have the Food Hygiene Permits must immediately take steps to regularise their activities with the FDA by applying for the Food Hygiene Permit and making their facilities available for food safety inspections”.
That, the statement said, was to ensure that only safe food was served to students, workers and patients of establishments, and to also prevent the risk of food-borne illnesses. “The FDA cannot guarantee the quality of operations and safety of food prepared by establishments that do not have valid Food Hygiene Permits.
Please note that a list of licensed Food Service Establishments is available on our website or can always be requested from any of our offices nationwide,” the statement added. The FDA further advised the public to only contract the services of and patronise establishments that had obtained a valid Food Hygiene Permit from the authority, stressing that “the FDA cannot guarantee the quality of operations and safety of food sold in unlicensed Food Service Establishments”.
The FDA encouraged the public to look out for the Food Hygiene Permit, which it said must be displayed at a point at the facility visible to the public, and to report any food service establishments that did not have the Food Hygiene Permit to the FDA.
A food service establishment operating without a valid Food Hygiene Permit from the FDA violates Section 130 (1) of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851), which states that “A person shall not manufacture for sale, sell, supply or store products regulated under this Part except in premises registered for that purpose under this Part”. A food service establishment is an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food for human consumption such as a restaurant, bakery, canteen, online food business, institutional caterer, chop bar and fast-food service.
By: Severious Kale-Dery