Madam Lawrencia Dzidzienyo, a Dietician at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH) has stressed the need to promote good food hygiene practices in the food and agriculture sector.
According to her, proper food hygiene practices were essential for mitigating the emergence and spread of food borne diseases adding that, unsafe foods containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances could cause over 200 diseases.
Madam Dzidzienyo made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency as part of this year’s celebration of World Food Safety Day in Takoradi.
The celebration, she said focused on drawing attention and inspiring action to help prevent, detect and manage food borne risks, contributing to food security, human health, and sustainable development.
She said food safety was a shared responsibility among governments, producers and consumers and that each and every one had a role to play towards achieving that objective.
Food safety, she said involved ensuring that food was safe through every stage, from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, preparation and consumption.
“It is more important now than ever that we treat ourselves with care by only consuming healthy products that can build our immunity, so that we can live healthy and happy lives”, she stressed.
She said it was important to eat safely because bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical substances that contaminate food and water were often invisible to the plain eye.
She advised the public to lookout for expiry dates, manufacturing dates, storage condition, uses or indication and ensure that they were not dented, bloated and without defaced markings or tampered markings before buying them.
Madam Bragoe Osei, a Nutrition Officer at the Jubilee Children’s Hospital also underscored the need to maintain proper hygiene in the kitchen by regularly washing utensils and tools after use, rinse fruits and vegetables properly especially, the lids of canned foods before opening them.
She said it was proper to always put food in the fridge or freezer within two hours after cooling or buying from the market especially, when it was hotter outside.
“It is better to use vinegar or salt water to clean vegetable than using sponge and other hard objects to scratch it because they wash away the fiber in them. Food should also not be exposed to excessive heat”, she advised.
Madam Osei also advised that raw foods should be kept separate whereas meat, sea foods and egg should be kept away from other foods as germs could spread from one food to another.