GTA schools informal food and beverage handlers on food safety

Tema Food and beverage handlers in Tema were on Thursday sensitized on proper food handling, safety and hygiene to prevent food-borne diseases.

The sensitization workshop, organized by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) with sponsorship from the Tourism Development Fund, sought to equip vendors in the informal food and beverage sector with appropriate skills in food handling to improve upon quality service delivery within the sector.

Participants underwent training in food safety and hygiene, food and beverage services, finance and accounting basics, specifically book keeping and the Legislative Instrument (LI) 2238 and LI 2185.

Mr Ekow Sampson, the Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations, the GTA, addressing participants, said food and beverage vendors played an essential role in domestic and international tourism in the country.

He said there was urgent need to promote quality service delivery in the sector as measures necessary to ensure safety of food from production to consumption, had been seemingly neglected thereby putting customers at serious risk.

The lack of adequate food hygiene could lead to food-borne diseases and even death he said, adding that his outfit would ensure that the over 80 per cent of informal food and beverage handlers in the sector were given the needed skills through systematic training.

According to Mr Sampson, food-borne diseases had become prevalent, albeit preventable, and that education in safe food handling is a key measure for prevention.

Dr Patricia Owusu Darko, the Director of Graduate School, Kumasi Technical University, in a presentation on food safety and hygiene, noted that food safety was critical in the hospitality industry as most diseases are caused as a result consuming unhygienic and unsafe food.

She said due emphasis ought to be given to good hygienic practices to prevent and control food-borne diseases, adding that the food we ate should be free from contaminants such as microorganism and chemicals.

Food and beverage handlers, she explained, ought to be taught the rudiments of food safety, proper food handling and further encouraged to adopt good practices needed to safeguard the quality food for consumption and distribution.

Ms Ruth Akyeamah Ankrah, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Tourism Development Fund of the Ghana Tourism Authority, said the establishment of the fund – which required that a one per cent levy was imposed on cost payable by a patron of the tourism enterprise to support the country’s hospitality industry, to ensure quality service delivery.

Some participants, speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), expressed satisfaction at the training as they had garnered skills in necessary for creating and maintaining hygienic and healthy conditions at their restaurants and points of sale.

Source: Ghana News Agency