Aflatoxin control policy will ensure food security – MESTI

Aflatoxin control policy will ensure food security – MESTI
Maize with aflatoxins

Mr Kwamena Quaison, the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), says the National Policy for Aflatoxin Control in Food and Feed will boost .

Aflatoxin is a class of toxic compounds produced by certain moulds found in food. Aflatoxins in food, when ingested over time can cause liver , tumors and damage in both humans and animals.

The toxic substance, according to the (WHO), could cause stunted growth in children and impede the effective utilisation of protein in the body.

According to the () and MESTI, Ghana loses about 18 per cent of its maize production to aflatoxin contamination annually.

Mr Quaison in his statement during a sensitisation workshop on the policy in , said, the document went beyond ensuring the reduction of aflatoxin contamination in foods for good health.

It, thus, covered measures to ensure food security through the empowerment of actors in the agriculture and food value chain with knowledge and strategies to eradicate factors that compromised the country's food systems.

That, he stated, would boost the income levels of all stakeholders within the value chain as well as fulfil most of the (SDGs) one, two, three, nine, fourteen and fifteen.

“It is, therefore, critical to eliminate all factors that compromise our food systems. Improved food safety practices will enhance the quality of our foods, which will help prevent foodborne illness, trade rejects, post-harvest losses and food waste,” he said.

He said the policy, officially launched in October 2022, would be implemented through various ministries and agencies after conducting adequate sensitisation and awareness to mitigate the negative effects of aflatoxin on the economy, public health, and livelihoods.

Emily Afaribea Boahene, a member of the National Steering Committee for Aflatoxin Control at the Ghana Grains Council, said her outfit was committed to seeing the implementation of the policy that would ensure aflatoxin-safe foods and food products.

She said that would be achieved by involving all stakeholders in the agriculture and food value chain from farmers to food processors and consumers.

Dr Rose Omari, a Senior Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, (CSIR-STEPRI), said the document would help to strengthen research and technology transfer on the toxic substance.

She added that it would also enhance surveillance systems to track and mitigate incidents of aflatoxin contamination in Ghana and enhance domestic and international trade in aflatoxin-free and safe foods.

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