As Christmas approaches, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has warned consumers to be wary of the kind of food items they buy from the market during the festive season.
This is because some retailers and importers sell unwholesome products to unsuspecting consumers during such festive seasons, which can be harmful to them.
The authority has, therefore, advised the public to always pay attention to food items, particularly the pre-packaged ones, on sale in the open market.
“When buying pre-packaged food products, you must always look out for the expiry or best-before date, which are typically the dates that guarantee the wholesomeness of the food products.
“When you see the date marking BB: 20/12/20, it means that the manufacturer cannot guarantee the safety and/or quality of the product after December 20, 2020,” the acting Head of Communications of the FDA, Mr James Lartey, cautioned the public in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
He added that for products with date marking ‘Expiry: 20/12/20’, it meant that, in the manufacturer’s estimation, such a product could not be consumed after December 20, 2020.
He further explained that there were some date markings that came with only the month and the year.
“For example, products with date markings ‘Exp:12/20’ means that you cannot consume that product after the last day of December 2020.
“For products with manufacturing date 20/12/20; shelf life: two years, it means that the manufacturer cannot guarantee the safety and or quality of the product two years after the manufacturing date,” Mr Lartey further indicated.
He, therefore, asked consumers to avoid buying products that had lapsed expiry or best-before dates.
“Remember: you are what you eat. So let’s make food safety our lifestyle and collective responsibility as we follow the COVID-19 protocols,” he said.
Mr Lartey reminded the public that December in particular was the period when some contaminated products, such as consumable goods, particularly confectioneries, flooded the market, with some of them coming in without registration or on the verge of expiry.
He said as part of the quest by the FDA to fight food poisoning threats ahead of the festive season, the authority was advising consumers to remain vigilant and look out for food items that were unsafe on the market and avoid compromising on cheap food products which came in attractive packages.
He said those who normally gave hampers as gifts should take note of the expiry dates of the items they packaged in order not to compromise the safety and health of their loved ones.
“It is also important for the recipients of such hampers not to keep them for a long time but to open them early enough to ensure that the products do not expire or go bad,” Mr Lartey advised.
He used the opportunity to advise Ghanaians to reject items on the market that did not have instructions in the English Language, adding that such products were not approved by the FDA.
Mr Lartey emphasised that before the FDA approved a foreign product on the market, the instructions should be clearly written in English, with clear manufacturing and expiry dates.
“Anything short of that means that the FDA cannot guarantee the safety and efficacy of that particular product and, therefore, it is not supposed to be on our market.
“People should report such products to the FDA and we will trace and close down the shops selling those products,” he said, insisting that the FDA had been closing down shops that sold such products.