Stakeholders in the Upper West Region have been schooled on the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) new guidelines for shelf-life of processed food products as part of measures to create public awareness.

The new guidelines spelt out the labeling requirements for processed food products as well as the penalties one could face for violating the guidelines including selling expired food products to the public.

Mr Albert Ankomah, the Upper West Regional Head of the FDA, speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop in Wa, said the new guidelines became necessary because the previous guidelines did not include locally manufactured food products.

He said food products such as water, food, live animals among others whether processed or raw, which exceeds the “Best Before Date” or “Expiring Date” were unwholesome and unfit for consumption.

Mr Ankomah said such food products must be taken out of the market and safely disposed under the supervision of the FDA to prevent the unsuspecting public from consumption.

The new guidelines provided that products with a “Best Before” date must have a minimum of 60 per cent of its shelf-life before they enter into the Ghanaian market.

Those with Expiring Date must have at least one and half years to the expiring date for food products with a shelf-life of two years before entering the market.

Also, those with a shelf-life of one year must have not less than eight months to the expiring date; four months for those with shelf-life of six months and at least two months for food products with shelf-life of three months before they entered the market.

Mr Ankomah said food products, either locally manufactured or imported that fell short of those requirements would be barred from entering the market.

He said any person or company that fails to comply with the guidelines commits an offence and was liable to a fine of 2,500 penalty units as stipulated in the Public Health Act, 2012, (Act 581).

Mr Ankomah said per the guidelines, a person who fails to pay the penalty unit would face a summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years in addition to the 2,500 penalty units.

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