The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has launched a new licensing scheme that would ensure street food vendors observe proper food-handling and good hygiene practices.

The introduction of the Street Food Licensing Scheme which falls under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Healthy Street Food Incentives project being implemented by the FDA, is expected to help curb the spread of food borne diseases and incidents of food poisoning in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the Scheme in Accra, Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Delese Mimi Darko, said street food micro-industries are vital for the economic planning and development of many communities adding that the industry represents a source of income and economic sufficiency for many people.

She, however, noted that apart from the benefits derived, street foods can often be plagued by problems of contamination and poor hygiene due to factors including unsanitary vending locations, inadequate vending structures, food handling and hygienic practices, and inadequate monitoring.

“Regulation can make street food safer, and it is in response to this, that the FDA, together with the FAO have been working tirelessly to instill best practices in their operations that will ensure that the food that the vendors prepare and sell are handled hygienically and safely to minimize food borne illnesses in our communities,” she said.

Asuccessful pilot project was held at Korle Klottey Municipal Assembly (KOKMA) with the first batch of vendors issued with their Street Food Vending Permits and compliant stars, at the event, having gone through rigorous compliance checks and approvals of both FDA and KOKMA.

Mrs. Darko encouraged the recipients of these permits to work hard and continue to adhere to all the food safety practices that have been taught.

“This will help to reduce foodborne disease outbreaks in the country and improve on nutritional needs of consumers. We are hopeful that very soon most vendors will comply and obtain their street food vending permits as well,” she added.

The FDA Boss also encouraged consumers to be on the look out for the street food vending permit whenever they step out to buy street food to help make the project a success.

FAO Senior Fisheries Officer, Gueye Ndiaga, said the FAO in its quest to assist the government to achieve the SDGs partnered with the FDA which enabled its staff to update their knowledge on the street food sector through baseline studies and the use of HSFI Digital Management Platform (DMP).

“The DMP was designed and developed as a web and mobile application for the management of key HSFI activities such as street food vendor registration, inspection and related data collection activities. Also, it is worth noting that the ‘Guidelines for the Licensing of Street Food Vendors’ were issued by the FDA in 2019 as part of the project activities, and in exercise of Public Health Act 851, 2012,” he added.

Mr. Ndiaga indicated that the project has given the FDA the locus to also issue the street vending permit.

“The FDA has taken a step in the right direction to sensitize the street food vendors and the general public on the new street food vending permit. It will put the consumer’s mind at ease with regards to healthy eating knowing that his/her favourite street food vendor will be duly regulated by the FDA and issued with a permit,” he stated.

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