Philip Tengzu, GNA
Wa (UWR), Sept 19, GNA – The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has engaged more than 80 traditional caterers and drinking bar operators from various parts of Upper West Region in day’s training session on personal hygiene and food safety.
The training is part of a national sensitisation programme for operators of food and beverages in the country’s informal sector on basic acceptable practices and rules and regulations governing the section.
It is aimed at improving the knowledge and practice of operators on total environmental cleanliness and ensure that better services are delivered to consumers.
Resource persons taught the people various topics including; food safety and hygiene, food and beverage services, bookkeeping and regulations governing food operations and hygiene.
Dr Patricia Owusu-Darko, a senior lecturer in food science at the Kumasi Technical University, urged the vendors to adhere to good personal hygiene and food safety practices.
She advised operators to wash their hands properly and keep their finger nails well kempt to avoid contaminating food sold.
She stressed the need to protect and prevent food and beverages from being contaminated, adding, “Destroy and discard unwholesome food to avoid infecting the consuming public with harmful bacteria”.
Dr Owusu-Darko, who is also the Consultant for the programme called on industry players to ensure clean environment which he noted was an important component in the food and beverages industry.
Madam Francisca Quansah, Senior Quality Assurance Officer at GTA, who gave highlights on license acquisition, advised people who wish to operate as vendors to register and receive license from the tourism authority.
She warned that drug trafficking, criminal offenses and poor hygiene practices as well as inability to sustain one’s business could lead to suspension of a license after prior notification within 90 days.
The license is being graded ranging from one to three, depending on the nature of business undertaken and the necessary facilities including; decent changing rooms and washrooms, which ought to be available and kept clean.
Mr Jones Aruna Nelson, Head of Corporate Affairs at the GTA, noted that the programme is part of activities rolled out by government to mark the “Year of Return”.
He added that food and beverages is made up of about 50 percent in the informal sector in Ghana, hence the need to sensitise operators on rudiments operations governing the industry as part of efforts to develop the tourism sector.
Mr James Suntaa Kugbee, President of Upper West Regional Bar Owners Association, commended GTA for coming up with the initiative on appropriate practices to help grow businesses.
He appealed to state actors to provide the needed security and enabling environment for their businesses to thrive.
The programme was organised by GTA with funding from the Ghana Tourism Fund and supported by Consolidated Bank of Ghana, Agricultural Development Bank and Universal Merchant Bank.