The Public Health Act 2012, Act 851 and Food Businesses – Part I
It was obvious though, that consumers themselves are not aware of Act 851 and hence accept any treatment meted out to them when they complain of one food incident or the other. It is my aim through this article to open the eyes of both Food business operators and consumers alike on what the law says and how it should be applied.
Food Business Operators
When you talk to most food operators about their records of consumer complaints, there is one statement that pops up. “we don’t receive complaints”. When you ask consumers whether they’ve encountered any food incident like food poisoning, you’ll get many respond in the affirmative. The follow up question as to whether they reported back to the food operator on the incident, draws smiles. You’ll have over 90% responding in the negative. It is then obvious that, food operators are not receiving complaints because consumers are not reporting back to them!
It is likely that people are dying from food poisoning and the culprits are not even aware!
Public Health Act 2012, Act 851
Registration of food (Section 99)
(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent the importation of samples for purposes of registration of the food. (3) An application for the registration of a food shall be made to the Authority in the prescribed manner together with the prescribed application fees.
(4) The Authority shall register the food if it is satisfied that the food complies with the prescribed standards, and the manufacturing operations for the food complies with the prescribed current codes of good manufacturing practices.
(5) The Authority may charge fees to cover the cost of carrying out good manufacturing practice inspection or laboratory investigations in respect of the registration of a food.
(6) An application under subsection (3) may be withdrawn at any time by the applicant before registration, but the withdrawal does not entitle the applicant to a refund of the application fees and the samples submitted.
Cancellation or suspension of registration (Section 98)
(2) An applicant may at any time after suspension or cancellation of a registration re-submit new information on the food.
(3) A person responsible for the registration of the food who fails to inform the Authority of a change in the information submitted for its registration commits an offence.
(4) The Authority shall cancel an approval in respect of a registered food if it is not made available on the market after three years of registration.
Importation and exportation of food (Section 99)
(2) The Authority shall keep and maintain in the prescribed manner a register containing
(a) the name of each registered exporter or importer of food;
(b) the date of registration;
(c) the kind of food in respect of which the exporter or importer is registered as an exporter or importer;
(d) the chemical composition, microbiological and physical status of the food the importer imports or the exporter exports;
(e) the certificate of analysis issued by the manufacturer and attested to by an authority of the importing or exporting country; and
(f) any other particulars determined by the Authority.
(3) The Chief Executive Officer shall as soon as is practicable proceed to consider the application and grant registration, if on receipt of an application for registration it is satisfied that
(a) the composition of the food proposed to be exported or imported is not of a standard below the specifications prescribed under this Part or the Regulations; and
(b) the food or its products and the practices related to the food or its products do not contravene a provision of this Part, the Regulations or Guidelines.
The three sections above go to tell us that, you cannot go into commercial production without registering your products. The District Assemblies and Metropolitan Authorities work hand in hand with the FDA to regulate the activities of wayside food vendors and these are typically the waakye and kenkey sellers and all those in that group. These group of food vendors are normally given permits by the district and metro assemblies after they’ve gone through the food handlers
The next time you stop at your favourite waakye or kenkey joint, ask the owner to produce the permit issued by the District Assembly or Metro Authority for all the workers at the joint. If you are reading this article, and you know you’re involved in any kind of commercial food activity, it is important you speak to the FDA or your district assembly to know which category you fall in, so you may get the necessary approval. We will discuss in detail very critical issues that food operators need to know and must comply with in subsequent sections of this law.
For consumers, it is your right to engage any food operator, be it in a restaurant, hotel or even processed food from a factory, if you have complaints to make. It is the responsibility of the food operator to listen to your complaints, investigate and compensate if need be. You have the alternative of falling on the FDA or the Metropolitan Authority to intervene if the food operator is not ready to take responsibility. In that case the law will take its course.
Johnson Opoku-Boateng is the Executive Director & Lead Consultant, QA CONSULT (Consultants and Trainers in Quality/Safety Management, Manufacturing Excellence and Food Safety) and can be reached on +233209996002, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hungry Potbelly – bringing nutrition to the fore as a nation! As part of the long-term vision set out in Agenda 2063, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union has adopted common African aspirations, drawing on the potential of its...
Silent Consumer Carelines – A major setback for industriesMohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wrote in his book “My Vision” (Challenges in the Race for Excellence) that “Anyone visiting the city realizes from touchdown that Dubai is exclusive and different. Because Dubai’s...
Industry & Consumer Information with Johnson Opoku-Boateng: Rising from complacencyThe Case of Successful Small Business“Expansion and modernisation of the nation’s productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and improve the international...