As part of activities to commemorate World Food Safety Month, the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi in collaboration with the National Food Safety Laboratory of the Veterinary Services Directorate has organised a student’s panel discussion workshop on Food Safety. This year’s celebration was held under the theme “Food Standards, Saves Lives.”
The students’ representation were from the Association of Food Science and Technology Students; the Medical Students Association; the Ghana Veterinary Medicine Students Association; and the International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences (IAAS).
In his welcome address, Dr. Joseph Atawalna, the Vice-Dean of SVM, emphasised the importance of World Food Month and highlighted the collaboration between the School of Veterinary Medicine, the Ministry of Health, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and other partners. Dr. Atawalna explained that the panel discussion aimed to explore the meaning of food safety from the perspectives of medical doctors, food scientists, agricultural scientists, and veterinary doctors. He encouraged the participants to actively engage in the discussions and acquire new knowledge on food safety.
Chairperson for the programme, Professor Samuel K. T. Newton, Dean of the School of Public Health, said that ‘‘We are what we eat’’ and as such the need for key players to put stricter measures in place to achieve quality and safety of foods over quantity. He expressed optimism that the knowledge that would be gained from the workshop will contribute to the continuous improvement of food safety practices and regulations that benefits both humans and animals.
Dr. Daniel Kwesi, representing the Ashanti Regional Veterinary Officer, underscored the crucial role of standardised food safety in preserving human and animal lives. He mentioned the significance of the workshop in raising awareness and ensuring that the food consumed by both humans and animals does not pose any health risks. Dr. Kwesi called for collective efforts to safeguard the well-being of individuals and animals through stringent food safety measures.
The Ashanti Regional Head of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mr. John Laryea Oddai-Tettey called on consumers to look out for the FDA number on the products they buy to ensure safety. He said consumers have a role to play to ensure food safety and added that they should not buy food products from unhygienic places to avoid food-borne diseases. He added that the Authority is working to intensify market surveillance and consumer safety education in major markets across the Region to ensure food safety and quality standards.
During the panel discussion on Food Security and Safety Standards, panellists unanimously called for increased awareness creation and concerted efforts to promote food safety on a scientific basis, using a multidisciplinary approach. It was also agreed that widespread collaboration and contributions of all actors, across the food supply chain, underpinned by robust governance, are essential to food safety. The panellists advocated for the introduction of various technologies, such as contact tracing apps, and QR codes, among others to improve food safety.