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FDA’s delay over Banku deaths unacceptable – Advocacy group

THE CONSUMER Advocacy Centre (CAC), a local chapter of Consumer International has berated officials of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for what it says is the authority’s inaction in suspected cases of food poisoning.

The group’s concern comes after some 6 persons reportedly died weeks ago after consuming popular delicacy banku and Okro soup at Akakpokope, a village in the South Tongu district of the Volta region.

It is reported that the deceased persons started complaining of stomach upset shortly after consuming the corn-based banku and okro soup on Thursday.

Locals largely suspect the corn dough from a particular corn mill operator caused the death of the deceased persons.

The Food and Drugs Authority subsequently announced that it has dispatched a team to the community to investigate the matter following widespread panic among residents.

But 10 days after the sad incident hit the community, there have been no communication from the FDA vis a vis its findings into the matter.

CAC in a statement signed by its President Prof. Goski Alabi asked the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to ramp up its Rapid Response strategies in suspected cases of food poisoning.

“The Consumer Advocacy Centre has taken notice of the position of Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) regarding the reported case of food poisoning leading to six deaths in the Volta Region.

“Ten good days after such a major incident, the FDA has only visited Akakpokope, just to collect samples of the poisonous corn dough. Using ten days to collect samples and not being able to issue a public alert or produce the first stage of the test results from the laboratory, in order to guide consumers, is not good enough.

“As the local chapter of Consumer International, we find it unacceptable.

“We believe that the FDA can be more responsive in such matters with a rapid alert system in such suspected case of food poisoning.

“We demand that the FDA issues a public alert in order to inform the general public and in particular consumers of corn dough, to allay the fears of the general public.”

Checks at the FDA, however, revealed that the outfit will soon come out with its findings.

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