The maiden edition of the Healthy Street Food Incentives (HSFI) project sensitisation workshop has kicked off, in Accra, with a call on food vendors to prioritise good hygienic practices.
The project was launched by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), last year, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
It is aimed at improving the safety of street food, by developing a resource-efficient food monitoring and inspection system for street food vendors in the country.
Addressing participants in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Madam Delasem Darko, stated that the HSFI project sought to improve the food safety system, by impacting knowledge to the vendors, so that they could appreciate the significance of food safety.
She was hopeful that the initiative would go a long way in reducing food-borne disease outbreaks, improve food safety and nutrition in the street food vending industry, increase customer base and the national economy.
Madam Darko advised the public to be “ambassadors of food safety, to improve health”.
She explained that the HSFI initiative would ensure behavioral change in vendors, as they acquired knowledge in good hygienic practices, and also drive the desire of consumers to add fruits and vegetables to their daily meals.
Mr Abebe Hailee-Gabriel, a representative of FAO, said progress in attaining a food safety and secured country, occurred step by step, adding that each victory, eventually became a platform upon which the next step could be built.
He said that the FDA had worked with his outfit on food safety initiatives, geared towards the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
Mr Hailee-Gabriel said the collaboration also ensured the safeguarding of public health and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said “the fight against hunger and malnutrition is only attainable when we work together, as consumers and food vendors”.
While street food is considered a crucial tool to reduce poverty and food security in middle income and developing countries, Mr Haile-Gabriel indicated that it was vital to support the sector to meet safety standards.
He said that when the right measures were implemented, Ghana could become a food safety and secured nation by the year 2030.
Mr Hailee-Gabriel urged members of the public to “rally behind this laudable initiative, to make our street foods more nutritious and safer until we have raised the safety standards of our street foods, high enough, to transform the entire country into a food safety hub”.