Dr. Afriyie stated that the MESTI would soon implement bye-laws to control the use of plastics and make it a punishable offense for those who used them to prepare food such as fante kenkey.
These bye-laws would be implemented in conjunction with other ministries such as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
The Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has warned the public to refrain from wrapping foods, especially banku and kenkey with plastics (polythene).
At a meeting with certain caterers’ groups in Accra, the sector minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, stated that boiling food, particularly kenkey in plastic, poses a major health risk to consumers.
He advises caterers and food suppliers to switch from the practicality of serving their customers in polythene to healthier practices.
The purpose of the discussion, which included representatives of the many informal food and beverage industry players, was to talk about how to combat the problem of plastic trash, which has become a significant environmental issue.
Dr. Afriyie added that research had revealed that boiling and serving food hot in plastic containers could cause certain chemicals to leach into the food and beverages of consumers, endangering their health.
“Some of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as metabolic disorders (including obesity) and reduced fertility,” the minister indicated.
“For catering companies and professional kitchens, one of the biggest environmental factors is excess packaging. This packaging comes in the form of containers for food items, plastic wraps for ingredients and in many cases, disposable cutlery and utensils.
“Before the invention of these banku rubbers, our old folks were still storing banku for more than a week without it going bad and any health hazards. As a matter of fact, they rather used materials that had the potential to add other health benefits to the banku”, he said.
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