The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) in efforts to combat the aflatoxin problem has embarked on a sensitisation campaign to disseminate information on aflatoxins and provide solutions under the National Aflatoxin and Sensitisation Management (NASAM) Project.
Supported by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and her partners, the NASAM project aims to catalyse and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation by improving food safety and security through increased knowledge about aflatoxins, its impact and management.
More than 500 food processors and farmers in Navrongo, Zuarungu and its environs will be targeted in this round of sensitisation meetings.
It is being done in partnership with the embassy of Mexico in Ghana, the University for Development Studies, IITA, MOFA, FDA, Farm Radio International, Nestle and the National Steering Committee on Aflatoxin Control.
Aflatoxin refers to fungal contamination, which mostly occurs in foods such as groundnuts, rice, tree nuts, cocoa beans, spices and other dried foods, in areas with hot and humid climates before and after harvest.
Aflatoxin contamination remains a major food safety concern in maize and groundnut-based foods.
High levels of aflatoxin present in grains produced in Ghana led to post-harvest losses, farmers selling their grains at lower prices and the inability of Ghanaian grains and derived food products to be sold on the international market.
High aflatoxin levels also affect the health of consumers as it is known to be the cause of some diseases.
With emphasis on mitigation and prevention of aflatoxins in foods, Mr. Derry Dontoh of the GSA will be leading discussions on Aflatoxins standards and management.
Mr Aldo Rosale, an expert from the international Maize and Wheat improvement Centre (CIMMYT), will introduce a process that has been proven to reduce the aflatoxin content in white maize known as Nixtamalization.
The Mexican Government is partnering the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) to introduce Nixtamalisation technology in Ghana to reduce levels of aflatoxin in maize.
The technology is an ancient Mexican technology for processing white corn, which significantly has the potential of reducing public health and food security challenges associated with the consumption of corn contaminated with aflatoxins and improving economic growth.
Prof. Francis Amagloh of the University for Development Studies will touch on complementary feeding as a way of reducing human exposure to aflatoxins.
GSA’s mission is to contribute towards the growth of industry, protect consumers and facilitate trade through standardisation, metrology and conformity assessment.