A scheme designed to strengthen the capacities of cottage and small scale food processors and provide guidance towards implementation of food safety management systems has been launched in Accra.
Themed “Progressive Licensing Scheme(PLS)”, the scheme is based on Good Manufacturing Practices(GMP) standards where applicants get scored during inspection and are awarded certificates ranging from Pink(level 1), yellow(level 2) and green (level 3).
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, the Chief Executive Officer of Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mimi Delese Darko, stated that the introduction of the scheme would get more manufacturing facilities of cottage/small status licensed without compromising on the basic requirements of GMP.
She said, “2019 statistics from FDA market surveillance showed that 661 locally manufactured products in the Greater Accra Region were not registered as per the Public Health Act 851 (2012) but were on the market.”
Mrs Darko attributed some of the reasons for the poor practice to the cost of laboratory testing of products as part of registration requirements, the lack of adequate knowledge of required processes and documentation and the inability of many cottages or small scale to meet facility establishment requirements.
“It is for these reasons that the FDA had to step in with the introduction of the PLS to support these small units, as they provide employment and generate income for their operators” she stated.
According to Mrs Darko, the new licensing scheme “which is based on high quality, transparent, and independent scientific advice following risk analysis, provides a high level of health protection for all, food products produced by cottage and small scale sized food processors can be traced and recalled when necessary.”
On his part, the acting Head of the Food Division department, Roderick Daddey-Adjei outlined some of the benefits that come with the launch of the new licensing programme.
“The introduction of a PLS for manufacturing facilities will help get more manufacturing about cottages or small status licensed facilities without compromising on the basic requirements of GMPs, as more cottage/small scale manufacturing facilities get registered the safety of food supplies in the formal and informal markets get assured.
“There will be a drastic reduction in the cost of laboratory analyses of food product testing with the launch of PL,” Mr Daddey-Adjei assured.
Chairman of the FDA’s Governing Board, Dr. Sammy Ohene, acknowledged that the programme was being launched at a time when a number of cottages or small-scale businesses were being financially supported by the government.
He asserted that hopefully, the launch of this licensing programme “will encourage every cottage or small scale food processor to comply with the rules and regulations of the FDA.”