The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has organised a consultation to discuss sustainable quality meat processing standards for food safety and nutrition security in Ghana
The two-day consultation engaged actors and Ghana’s competent authorities to carry out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis within the value chain. Additionally, the workshop focused on building the technical capacity for meat inspectors, butchers and meat cutters.
The meat industry is an important sector of the agricultural economy in Ghana, which represents a significant opportunity for livestock farmers, meat processors and consumers in the country but also constitutes to a big challenge for safe processing and marketing of meat and meat products.
Speaking at the opening of the consultation, Anthony Akunzule, national project coordinator at Emergency Centre for Transboundary (ECTAD), Ghana, explained, “Despite the huge contributions in the meat inspection system, it is still burdened with many challenges in this present era in which Ghana has signed on the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005)” of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He further added, “In the area of food safety, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Veterinary Service Department (VSD), Environmental Health of the ministry of local government and rural development, butchers, and the academia must develop guidelines and codes of practices to guide the meat inspection system in the country.”
Ghana’s veterinary and meat inspection system
A statement by the chief veterinary officer of Ghana, Dr Kinsley Micky Aryee called for strict regulation and enforcement within the meat processing and inspection units in Ghana. He emphasised that Ghana’s meat inspection sector must take a more collaborative approach between the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. In his view, poor monitoring and evaluation system has also contributed to the various challenges of food-related health crisis and the growing menace of antimicrobial resistant use in Ghana.
Ghana’s Veterinary Services Directorate is responsible for the control of meat hygiene, meat inspection and animal health-related issues. However, due to limited human resource, education in food safety and lack of national policy on food safety has contributed to the production of unsafe meat as many farmers and meat vendors slaughter their animals in unapproved facilities without any regulation or standards.