Business News of 2014-06-26

Food vendors train on safe handling of food

Some selected food vendors in the Ashaiman Municipality have successfully completed a day’s training programme that will enable them to come out with qualitative, efficient and safe service delivery to the public.
The training focused on iced kenkey producers in the Ashaiman market and its surrounding areas. The programme was organised by the Food Research Institute (FRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly.
A Research Scientist and facilitator of the programme, Mrs Amy Attey, explained that the training in safe handling and preparation of ice kenkey, a popular street food, had become necessary following a market research conducted by the FRI in selected markets, namely Madina, Makola, Agbogloshie and Ashaiman, which revealed that a quantity of the product contained microbial contaminants.
“It was decided, therefore, to start a series of education for the producers and vendors on the preparation, safe packaging and handling of the product in order to ensure that it is of good quality”, she said.
Mrs Attey advised the participants to observe good practices by always wearing clean outer garments and effective hair restraint. She cautioned that if ice kenkey, for instance, was not handled well, it could lead to an outbreak of food-borne diseases.
“The occurrence of foodborne disease remains a significant health issue in both developed and developing countries. Proper food preparation can prevent most food-borne diseases,” she said.
Mrs Attey said it had been estimated that each year 1.8 million people died from diarrhoea and most of the death were attributable to contaminated food or water. She, therefore, called on food vendors to ensure that they operated strictly under healthy and hygienic conditions.
She further recommended that producers of ice-kenkey put the beverage in 300ml glass or plastic bottles by way of packaging it instead of pouring it into the old bottles of various shapes and sizes they used. Mrs Attey also urged millers of the kenkey to adopt the use of stainless steel milling machines in order to avoid the transfer of metals into the mixture.
Mr George A.A. Anyebuno, who is also a research scientist, said because maize and peanuts, key ingredients in the preparation of the ice-kenkey, were very susceptible to aflatoxin contamination, it was important that all discoloured, damaged, immature, and shrivelled grains were manually sorted out to prevent contamination or reduce the levels of aflatoxins.
A participant, Ms Lucky Azamati, described the training as very timely and recommended that it was held regularly to educate food vendors as a means to ensure the safety of the consuming public.