The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has assured the public that all products registered by the Authority, including tomato paste and tomato mix on the Ghanaian market, are safe.
The assurance comes on the back of a social media documentary about the production of a tomato paste brand in China which condemns the production of the tomato concentrate mixed with other ingredients found on the Ghanaian market.
The FDA, in a statement, explained that there are two variations of tomato concentrate products: tomato paste and tomato mix.
According to the Ghana Standards GS 245:2019, the FDA explained that tomato paste is a tomato concentrate to which salt and other suitable seasoning ingredients may be added whiles tomato mix per the Ghana Standards GS 1203:2018, is tomato concentrate and/or tomato powder (granules) to which water, salt, starch, dietary fibre and other optional ingredients mentioned in clause 5.1.2 are added.
With regard to the labelling of these products in Ghana, the FDA said it has separate guidelines for labelling tomato mix and seasoned tomato mix – tomato seasoning mix that require a quantitative declaration in percentages of tomato and all the ingredients mentioned above if used in the production of the product.
The FDA stressed that all products registered by the Authority, including tomato paste and tomato mix are safe.
The current FDA regulatory measures being implemented, according to the Authority, include sampling and testing all batches of tomato paste and tomato mix products locally manufactured in and imported into the country before clearance as prescribed by standards and labeling guidelines.
In addition, periodic market surveillance is done on all FDA regulated products including tomato paste and tomato mix to ensure compliance to these standards.
The FDA further clarified that Gino, a brand mentioned in the documentary, officially ceased the importation of tomato paste onto the Ghanaian market, and from November 2018, only imports bulk tomato concentrate for the production of Gino tomato mix locally.