Cape Coast, May 20, GNA – The Central Region office of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has trained some 45 environmental health officers from the 22 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies across the region on the issuance of Street Food Vending Permit (SFVP).
The officers were taken through the guidelines for issuing SFVP to street food vendors and also address food safety concerns in the vending industry to promote safe food and prevent foodborne diseases.
The training, which took place in Cape Coast, was also meant to strengthen collaboration between FDA and the environmental health officers in protecting the public.
The SFVP is a document issued by FDA to street food vendors to approve and legalise their operations in a bid to safeguard public health and safety.
The FDA is by the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851), mandated to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of food, cosmetics, drugs, household chemical devices, blood and blood products and tobacco products.
In furtherance of its mandate, the Authority in November last year, launched the SFVP at the national level to regulate street food industry.
The Permit was later launched at the regional level in Cape Coast on February 11, 2022 on the theme: "No Street Food Vending Permit, no business", suggesting that it would be unlawful for any street food vendor to operate without a valid permit from the FDA.
Madam Francisca Obeng, acting Regional Head of FDA, who opened the session maintained that the introduction of the policy was not an attempt by the Authority to render environmental health officers redundant, but to enhance their work.
She explained that routine inspections, for instance, would be done in partnership with the environmental health officers, adding that all existing by-laws operated by the officers still held.
“It is a collaboration and I believe we can do this with dedication, having in mind the protection of public health as our priority through safe foods,” she said.
Madam Obeng pointed out that the SFVP was meant to promote the business of street food vendors, urging the environmental health officers to be firm in enforcing the policy.
Mr William Freeman Goku, the Regional Environmental Officer, intimated the collaborative gesture was crucial for the professional synergy between the two entities to promote food hygiene and safety.
“What is being pursued now is to extend the scope to cover street food vending and we believe it is not an attempt to take over medical screening for food vendors’ certificate as currently being carried out in the MMDAs,” he said.
Some of the participants said the training had added to their knowledge and experience and would, therefore, enhance their efficiency.
“This exercise with the FDA will deepen the relations that we have with them.
“Before a permit is issued, food vendors need to meet some environmental standards, which we the environmental health officers will enforce and the FDA will issue the permit and so we are confident of keeping our jobs.,” a participant, Mr Antwi-Mends Festus Junior said.
Another participant, Mr Edem Ayivor, was optimistic that practising what he had learnt would enhance his work.