FDA Engages Stakeholders on New Water Labeling Directive

Stakeholders asking questions during the forum

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has held a day’s meeting with some bottle and sachet water non-retail producers and manufactures in the Greater Accra Region on the new labeling directive.

The meeting was to create the common platform for both parties to deliberate on the concerns raised about inconsistencies in the labeling of water and how best the new directive can be implemented.

Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Delese Darko, in her opening remarks, said the new directive issued a few weeks ago in accordance with Section 81 of the Public Health Act 2002 (Act 851), instructed water producers to ensure among others that all labeling information on both primary and secondary packaging is the same.

“It also indicated that the name and contact details of franchisee(s), where applicable, should be on the front of the pack or on the principal display panel of the secondary package and the primary package as well as the size on the product label should be at least half of the size of the largest font on the label,” she said.

Mrs. Darko noted that the directive was issued in order to ensure the public’s access to and easy identification of all essential product information at the point of purchase and to facilitate effective post-market surveillance.

The meeting, she noted, was to formally disseminate the directive to stakeholders while providing insight on the labeling requirement to enable stakeholders adequately prepare to comply with the requirements.

“This stakeholder meeting is of particular importance to us, as we believe that a directive in this area is needed in order to have a healthy policy environment to ensure that the enforcer, non-retail producer and manufacturer as well as consumer benefit from clear complete labeling to obtain important information on products purchased at the point of sale thereby promoting the protection of public health and safety,” Mrs Darko said.

Senior labeling officer at the FDA, Percy Adomako Agyekum, took the participants through the new FDA directives on the labeling of the sachet and bottle water and the common mistakes some water producing companies have on their products.

Some of the common mistakes, he said, were inadequate labeling information, inappropriate product description, superlative claims on products which have the tendency to mislead the public.

He said while some has faint labeling information others have no batch numbers and wrong description of products.

“You should know the difference between drinking water, natural or mineral water and spring water but you see people using these words which should not be the case,” he said.

The stakeholders on the other hand raised concern over placement of the batch numbers on the secondary products and lamented that the time given for the directive to the adhered to was short at they have already ordered their secondary packing without the batch numbers.

They also lamented the insufficient supervision on the part of FDA indicating that has lead to the influx of unregistered water producers in the system.

The FDA however encouraged them to adhere to the October 1, 2019 deadline saying it is in their own interest to have the batch number as it facilitates traceability of specific products.

By Jamila Akweely Okertchiri

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