The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) Volta Regional Office, in collaboration with the Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Standard Authority, intercepted imported India rice suspected of containing lead.
On November 14, 2022, the unwholesome rice brand ‘Simba’ Rice was impounded at the customs duty yard at Aflao Border in the Volta Region. Mr Gordon Akurugu, the FDA’s Volta Regional Head, told the media that 22 bags of rice were impounded as a result of increased surveillance operations by the Authority in response to an alert issued by the Ministry of National Security about the rice on May 16, 2022.
He stated that the alert was issued by the Ministry of National Security in response to the Nigerian Customs Authority intercepting the brand of rice, one thousand (1,000) samples of which contained lead residue on May 5, 2022. Mr. Akurugu stated that further investigations and questioning of the traders involved revealed that the suspected rice was being sold at a very low price in Togo, indicating that Ghana was the next target.
Mr Akurugu disclosed that an alert had been sent to the neighbouring borders and the patrol teams to keep high surveillance to prevent the rice into the country due to its food safety implications on the citizens.
He commended the National Intelligence Bureau, National Security, Military Intelligence, Ghana Immigration Service, National Narcotic Commission, and the Customs Division of the GRA for their effective collaboration and vigilance in safeguarding public safety.
Mr Akurugu further disclosed that his outfit carried out a market surveillance at some supermarkets and cold storage facilities in the Region on two brands of frozen poultry sausage linked to an outbreak of listerios is in Italy between October 4 and 5, 2022.
“The activity was necessitated following an FSN alert that all AIA Wudy and Pavo brands of frozen poultry sausage with dates until November 30, 2022, were affected.” Mr Akurugu stated that the facilities visited were inspected and their records were reviewed to determine whether the implicated product was delivered or purchased.
“We detained four (4) cartoons and 27 packs of frozen Pavo Frankfurt IL Wurstel DI Pollo E Tarchino Congelato with an expiry date of November,” he said.
He stated that while the exercise did not establish the presence of AIA Wudy Sausage on the market, it did establish the existence of the Pavo brand and that further investigation was underway to identify the supplier of the implicated product.
Mr. Akurugu urged the public to be cautious about their consumption habits, particularly during the holiday season, emphasizing that public health was their top priority.