GSA, FDA to close down shops flouting labelling rules

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), will begin closing down supermarkets and shops that fail to comply with its general labeling rules.

According to the GSA, the move is to rid Ghanaian markets of products that do not conform to labeling requirements.

The GSA in an attempt to fight the influx of goods labelled in unfamiliar foreign languages, will from next month also introduce a system that will ensure the thorough examination of all products before they are shipped into the country.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, the Director of Communications at the Ghana Standards Authority, Dr. Kofi Amponsah Bediako, said all non-complying shops and supermarkets will be closed down by Friday.

He said the FDA had already tasked a team to ensure the closure of these shops.

“There are men already on the ground and I am sure you will soon hear them closing some of the shops. As a regulator they have the power to do that…For us as Standards Authority we also have a surveillance team that is also going round to examine products in shops… I believe by close of this week, some shops will be closed down..It will be done by either Food and Drugs Authority or Ghana Standards Authority.”

Foreign-labelled goods flood shops

The move follows reports indicating that some supermarkets and mother care shops in Accra and its outskirts are selling food and baby products labeled in Chinese and Spanish, in contravention of the law.

A visit by Daily Graphic to Citydia Supermarket at the Dzorwulu junction and around the Adabraka police station revealed that a number of items on display had their labels in Spanish.

The Supermarket tried making up for the language barrier by translating some of these labels to English but the printouts were hardly visible.

The law

The Ghana Standards Authority (food, drugs and other goods) General Labelling Rules, 1992 (LI 1541) requires that the labels of products, including food, shall be printed, impressed, embossed or stamped in the English Language.

Section 8.2 of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) Guidelines for the labelling of pre-packaged food also states that “if the language on the original label is not acceptable (not in English) to the consumer for whom it is intended, a supplementary label containing the mandatory information in English may be used instead of relabelling”.

It also states: “In the case of either labelling or a supplementary label, the mandatory information provided shall fully and accurately reflect that in the original label.”

Under Ghanaian law (Section 4.1.2 of the FDA Regulations), aligned to European Union laws, any pre-packed food or drink sold in the country which is known to cause hypersensitivity must be declared on the label.

These include cereals (including wheat, rye, barley, oats, or their hybridised strains and products of crustacea (including prawns, crabs and lobsters), egg and egg products, fish and fish products, peanuts (groundnuts), soyabeans, milk and milk products (lactose included), tree nuts and their products (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts) and sulphite in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more ((preservatives that are used in some foods and drinks).

By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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