The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has reiterated the need for traditional caterers, food vendors and consumers to observe food and personal hygiene to prevent the spread of cholera.
In a statement signed by its Deputy Chief Executive (Food Safety Division), John Odame-Darkwah, and issued in Accra on Monday, the authority expressed worry over the outbreak of cholera and the increasing rate of its occurrence in some parts of Ghana.
Advice on hygiene
The FDA advised that food vendors and consumers should always sell or buy food from clean environments only.
It advised consumers to avoid street foods sold under unhygienic conditions such as being close to open gutters, refuse dumps and public toilets.
It reminded food vendors to always cover the food sold to avoid contamination by houseflies and dust.
“Food vendors should keep food at the appropriate temperature during sale. Hot foods such as koko, kenkey and waakye should be maintained and sold hot, while cold foods such as salads be maintained on ice and sold cold,” it added
According to the statement, food vendors should use clean ladles, spoons, tongs, among other cutlery, to serve dishes.
More advice on hygiene
It said plates and cutlery should be washed with soap and running water in between periods of use or with hot water, while food vendors, including sachet water sellers, should wash their hands thoroughly using soap and running water after visiting the toilet.
It said sachet water sellers should desist from holding up the sachets at the corners when selling and should always keep their hands clean or wear hand gloves.
According to the statement, sachet water should be purchased from clean vending facilities and sellers who observed personal hygiene.
“It is advisable to avoid eating street vended salad and cut fruits. As much as possible, prepare these and eat at home. Fruit and vegetables should be properly washed under running water before eating,” it said.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Head of Public Education of the FDA, Mr Edward Archer, said as part of interventions to manage the outbreak of cholera, the authority was organising sensitisation workshops for traditional caterers, food vendors and consumers nationwide.
According to him, the exercise had begun in some selected communities in the Adentan Municipality and would be ongoing and replicated in all municipalities until tremendous strides had been made at reducing the occurrence of cholera cases.
Mr Archer said traditional caterers and food vendors highly contributed to the health of consumers because good health basically depended on what was eaten and, therefore, they needed to be major targets in such an exercise.
He reiterated that a hand sanitiser, no matter its potency, could not replace the proper washing of hands and described hand washing as the most ideal way of cleaning the hands.
“The sanitiser becomes an option only when there is no access to clean water and soap,” he added.
Mr Archer said even in the absence of tap water, water in a clean container could be poured onto the hands with the help of another person.
Source: Daily Graphic
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