The Food and Drugs Authority has directed the withdrawal of all batches of certain brands of tomato paste from the market which were found to contain the ingredients starch and colour, that were not indicated on the labels.
According to the FDA, these ingredients are not permitted in tomato paste and the products therefore violates the Ghana Standards for tomato paste.
The following 16 tomato paste products were listed as unwholesome by the Food and Drugs Authority:
Alyssa Tomato Paste, Aicha Tomato Paste, Snow Red Tomato Paste, Shalom Tomato Paste, Mama and Papa Tomato Paste, Juliet Tomato Paste, Star-time tomato paste, Daily Double Concentrated Tomato Paste, Prestige Tomato Paste, Roi Lion Double Concentrated Tomato Paste, Richese Tomato Paste, Green Garden Tomato Paste, Rococo Tomato Paste, Nano Tomato Paste, Tasty Family Tomato Paste and Ma Bravo Tomato Paste.
Eye on Port, in an effort to assess the impact of the ban in the food market, engaged some consumers and Traders at the Community 1 Market in Tema.
While some traders admitted to have heard about the ban on the 16 brands of tomato pastes, others claimed to be totally ignorant of it.
“I heard about it on my social media platforms,” a student trader, Comfort Addison said.
Most of the traders revealed that the brands that had been banned are not popular among consumers, hence they do not stock them.
“We sell mostly Salsa, Gino and Tasty Tom. We sell these three brands because that’s what people prefer against the other brands or competition,” one trader revealed.
A wholesale distributor of tomato paste, however, disclosed that, occasionally some of such unpopular brands of tomato paste make it unto the retail market due to their cheaper prices.
“I think I have heard of the snow red before. Someone told me that they were auctioning some things at the harbour and this was how I met a gentleman who told me he was going to give it to me at a cheaper price because it was being auctioned,” she revealed.
She added that those unpopular brands are usually bought by food vendors, who sell meals on the streets, hinting that such vendors are usually willing to compromise on quality for cheaper prices.
According to Comfort Addison such vendors don’t only prefer such unpopular brands of tomato paste, but they are also interested in those in deteriorating state as well.
“They are the ones who are helping us currently, because they are cooking even if it’s dented they might consider and buy it,” she said.
Some consumers also admitted to Eye on Port that, they have not heard about the FDA announcement.
They urged the FDA to intensify their sensitization drive to ensure that every household is aware of the situation to prevent people from buying such unwholesome products.
“They have to check the products well before it comes out and also before it is sold to the consumers but shouldn’t wait for people to consume it because it will be too late by then,” another trader cautioned.
“They should educate the public more by advertising it,” one buyer proposed.
The traders advised that if they are made aware of the situation, it will prevent them from making poor investments