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Abeka: Food vendors flout FDA permit directive

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Channel One News assessment of compliance with the Food and Drugs Authority’s (FDA) Street Food Vendor Permit directive at the Abeka Market has revealed low adherence.

In a bid to ensure that foods sold on the street meet basic hygiene and safety requirements, boosting consumer confidence and safeguarding public health, the FDA initiated the Street Food Vendor Permit.

The permit required for all street food vendors across the country costs 5 cedis. It allows vendors to be trained, registered, and licensed.

However, at the Abeka Market, most food vendors did not have the permit, with only a few claiming they did.

Alice Tetteh, a porridge seller who expressed ignorance said “I don’t have one. I am not sure of what you are talking about. I don’t know I need to get one so if you have one to give me, I would be glad”.

Sahadatu Mohammed, who sells Waakye at the Abeka Market also said “I have been engaging AMA on that. For the FDA permit, I do not have one. But my place is clean. So I don’t think it is a big issue”.

When asked if they check whether vendors have the permit before buying food, some patrons had this to say.

“I have been eating here for years. I don’t have time to check the permit because I don’t care. The food is good and I know the place is clean so yeah”.

Another also stated, “I believe they have the permit. I have been a regular customer for 27 years”.

Boniface Ashalley, the Municipal Environmental Health Officer at the Okaikwei North Municipal Assembly, disclosed to Channel One News about his office’s efforts to ensure food safety in the municipality amidst the ignorance.

“We have our staff who do one-on-one education. We have been doing screening for them to get the health permit. We are aware of some of these issues but we have been embarking on sensitization to get them informed. We also go round to monitor their place of work if it is clean and safe for people to buy from them” he stated.

He also asserted the Assembly’s contribution to enforcing the FDA’s directive on street food vendor permits.

“We are all doing the same work so when there is the need to assist or let the food vendors know that apart from the health permit it is mandatory for them to get the street food vendor permit, we do” he added.

Meanwhile, Roderick Daddey-Adjei, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, disputed claims by some vendors who said they have the permit but do not have it at their place of operation.

“It is not possible for the vendors to have the sticker and claim it is at home. It has a QR code and it is sticker which has to be pasted on their shop or wherever they are selling from. To see the one who has complied fully is the one with the health permit and also the street food vendor permit”.

Additionally, he expressed concern about vendors’ negligence, stating that to address ignorance, his office has been deploying officers to sensitize vendors about the initiative.

“The FDA has even taken the extra step to even educate people who are supposed to come themselves. Many people conveniently seem not to hear what they should hear. We have done it in different languages and so we now even go on the field to do the education there”.

Roderick Daddey-Adjei, however, revealed that operating without the street food vendor permit is a criminal offense, and vendors found without it will be sanctioned.

“If you are seen operating without having a health card and the street food vendor permit, you are committing a crime and you will be sanctioned”.

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