Sebastian Mawuli Hotor, the Upper East Regional Director of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has called on members of the public to look out for expiry dates of products as they shop for Christmas.
“Usually when it gets to the end of the year and Christmas, those whose products are nearing expiration, reduce their prices and sell. The danger is that if you buy too much for your stock, you will end up with products expiring in your home.”
He said with such expired products, the tendency among some members of the public to consume those expired products were high, adding that the cost of the products usually made it difficult for some people to discard them.
Mr Hotor made the call in an interview with journalists on the sideline of the maiden festival of nine lessons and carols night organised by the FDA to usher in the Christmas season.
He noted that it was not illegal for anybody to sell products nearing expiration dates at cheaper prices, “It is only illegal for them to sell expired products. It behoves on us the consumers to watch out and buy little quantities that can be consumed before the expiry date approaches.
“There is nothing like grace period after expiry. Once it is expired, it is expired for good. So let’s be vigilant. If the product is rusted or dented it is not safe, it is contaminated. We need to safeguard our own health,” He emphasized.
The Director said officials of the FDA in the Region had been active since the beginning of the year until the COVID-19 pandemic set in, which compelled them to reduce the number of officials on the field.
“We had to do a lot of scheduling, we could not put all our staff in the office at once. Even with fieldwork, we had to reduce the numbers and the vehicles so as to protect them from the COVID-19 infection,” he said.
Mr Hotor described the year as good despite the challenges, saying “Now we are doing full operations with a full staff and we are back on the market. On daily basis we do market surveillance, looking out for expired, unregistered and unwholesome products to get them off the market.”
He said officials of the FDA also embarked on intensive education in the markets, “Because we feel that is even more important. When the consumer and the distributors are aware of the dangers of displaying or putting on the market unwholesome products, they would appreciate it.
“Basically, our market surveillance activity for this year’s Christmas is packed with public education, and so we spend more time in the shops and interact more with consumers,” the Director added.
On the essence of the programme, the Director indicated that it offered to staff of the FDA the opportunity to fraternise and socialize with their families and other stakeholders, “We take time off our busy schedules to unwind as well as contemplate on the reason for the season which is love for God and love for our neighbour.”
He extended felicitations of the Christmas season to the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs Delese Darko, management and the Board of Governors of the FDA.
The event brought together officials from public and private institutions in the Region, the clergy and choristers from some churches who sang Christmas carols and read Bible verses.