Experts decry lack of data on food-poisoning
The lack of data on food-poisoning in the country seriously impedes efforts to contain the growing cases of food-poisoning and food-borne diseases in the country.
Johnson Opoku Boateng, Principal Consultant Quality Assurance Consult said: “In Ghana, we don’t have the stats as we have in the United States, and so we are not able to know the quantum of food-poisoning that happens. But the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that one in six Americans get sick from eating contaminated food.
“It is very important for government to take this very seriously. The Food and Drugs Authority and other public health institutions must ensure that just as we have accident statistics year in year out, we should also have statistics on food-poisoning and other food-borne illnesses so that we know what preventive measures to take as a country,” he said at the end of training for Chefs and Cooks of Joecarl Hotel in Tema.
There are about 800 hotels spread across the country, and thousands of traditional caterers operating in various regions of the country.
Over the past two years, reported cases of food poisoning in Senior High Schools, major city centres and densely-populated communities in the country have put pressure on health workers and limited government resources.
More than 17,000 cases of cholera born out of contaminated food and water were recorded last year, with about 150 deaths.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation estimates that a cumulative total of 636 cases with 6 deaths -- a case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.9% -- were reported as of June 2015.
Mr. Boateng said: “The training of cooks and chefs and all other food-handlers in the hospitality industry is key for the prevention of food-poisoning and food-borne diseases. Food-borne outbreaks from hotel, restaurants, and fast-food joints usually have devastating consequences because of the number of people involved”.
QA Consult provides training and consultancy services in integral quality management systems. The scope of this activity involves establishing a quality management system from scratch for start-up organisations and those who are established but do not have such a system.
“We provide high quality standards of products and services, food safety and consumer health by providing consultancy and training services in integral quality management systems, manufacturing hygiene and food safety for businesses,” Mr. Boateng said.
Twenty (20) staff of the Joecarl Hotel, Tema who handle food participated in the training programme, and were duly awarded certificates upon successful completion of the required exams.