SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND CREATIVE ARTS, HON ELIZABETH OFOSU-ADJARE (MRS.) AT THE LAUNCH OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HEALTH AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS TRAINING PROGRAMME BY FLAIR CATERING SCHOOL ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2014.

MR CHAIRMAN,
DIRECTOR, MANAGEMENT AND STAFF OF FLAIR CATERING SCHOOL,
REPRESENTATIVE FROM COUNCIL FOR TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (COTVET),
PRESIDENT OF THE INSTITUTE OF HOSPITALITY,
MR. GEORGE MAINA OF OASIS MANAGEMENT LTD, AN EXPERT ON HEALTH, SAFETY AND TRAINING FROM KENYA,
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,
FRIENDS FROM THE MEDIA,
STUDENTS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

My presence at this function is to launch the training programme by Flair Catering School as part of their efforts to implement the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). My physical presence attests to the importance that my Ministry attaches to this training programme. It is also an expression of satisfaction of the enormous contribution that this school has made towards improving service standards in the industry. Flair catering has contributed significantly in giving employable skills and opportunities to a number of people especially the youth and women since its establishment. For this reason, Mrs. Baeta and your team, I salute you and say AYEKOO!!!


Ladies and Gentlemen, the handling of food safety issues in the hospitality industry is critical to the survival of the sector, as it impacts directly on patrons of the industry. Various unhygienic foods and other forms of contamination of daily consumables have resulted in a number of health hazards around the world. No wonder diseases like cholera, typhoid, abdominal pains, nausea and diarrhea are of much concern to health professionals, as patients continue to flock to health centres with complications resulting from food-borne diseases.
During the handling and preparation of food, bacteria are transferred from contaminated hands of food workers to the food and subsequently to other surfaces. Poor personal, environmental and food hygiene attitudes such as absence of hand washing, dirty clothing, uncovered hair, improper disposal of garbage and unprofessional habits in the kitchen can be major causative modes of food contamination. An important sanitary issue of public concern is the failure to keep washrooms and the kitchen decent at all times. Non-availability of alternative sources of water supply to hospitality facilities, apart from it being an infringement on the law, can have a negative impact on hygiene and food safety.
It is therefore imperative for trainers of hospitality service staff to appreciate the importance of food safety and hygiene quality on consumers, and take steps to update the level of knowledge of their trainees. This is because there is a strong correlation between food safety, health and development. Food safety management is therefore one of the most crucial subjects in both international and national circles. Periodic training for caterers are some of the proactive measures to improve the knowledge on food safety management.
If concerns over food safety are not addressed in a more coherent, consistent and collaborative manner, the livelihoods of vendors and the health of consumers may be at risk. This is very crucial especially at a time when food vendors have sprung up at every corner one can think of, including the streets. What is even more disturbing is that the dressing of some of these vendors, their food handling habits, among others, leaves much to be desired.
Mr. Chairman, it is in the light of the above that I find this initiative by Flair Catering Institute very appropriate, timely and commendable. It will be a welcome relief to me for Flair Catering Services Ltd to also collaborate with the Ghana Indigenous Caterers Association and the Ghana Traditional Caterers Association for the training to be extended to cover their members. l expect that the sensitization of students and industry operators will highlight on  the observance of simple safety guidelines which include wearing of protective clothing, prevention of jewelry from coming into direct contact with food, covering of the hair with a clean hat or hair net and avoidance of hair brushing or handling in a food preparation area.
I also want to use this platform to sound assure you that My Ministry, through its implementing body, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) will partner and stand by you in this endeavour by clamping down on operators in the industry who are not conforming to standards, including that of food safety. I have given firm instructions to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to ensure full compliance with the service operation standards being developed by the Ghana Hotels Association when it is completed and validated. In the interim, the Authority has been instructed to do spot checks and inspections of hostels, hotels, restaurants, bars, car rental facilities and other service providers to ensure that patrons get value for their money.
Let me also use the opportunity to appeal to the star-rated hotels, restaurants, etc to consider putting several of our indigenous foods on their menus. This is key because Ghanaians and visitors alike are now getting much more attracted to our local delicacies. I must mention that doing so will also ensure that we keep our hardworking farmers constantly in business.
 On this note, I have the singular honour to declare the food, hygiene and safety initiative by Flair Catering School duly launched.
l thank you for the audience.

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