By Edmund Mingle
Saturday, 29 December 2007
OPERATORS in the hospitality industry have been accused of showing little interest in training programmes organised to improve their efficiency.
Emmanuel Agyarko, Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board ( FDB) and Martin Mireku, Executive Director of Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), made this accusation following the low turn-out at a training seminar for managers of some hotels in Accra designated for the GHANA 2008.
The 12 hotels have been designated to accommodate officials for the tournament, and the seminar was organised by the FDB to educate the managers on food safety to ensure that there were no problems with food preservation for the visitors.
It was on the theme, "The challenges of food safety- what managers must know."
Out of the lot, only eight were represented, and most of the representatives arrived more than 40 minutes late. Also, they were not the managers but chefs.
Officials of the FDB told the Times that they had not received any notification from the other four hotels indicating their inability to attend the seminar, which the board considered vital to the success of hosting the tournament.
"This is completely unacceptable," Mr. Agyarko declared, warning that Ghana’s hosting of the tournament could be brought into disrepute if there was any problem with food for the officials.
He said a team from the board will inspect sanitation facilities in the designated hotels and make recommendations for improvement, adding that the Local Organising Committee would be notified about those hotels that would show uncooperative attitude.
The GHANA 2008 designated hotels in Accra are: La Palm Royal Beach, Labadi Beach, Crystal Palm, Fiesta Royale, Alisa, Novotel, High Gate, M-Plaza, Golden Tulip, Africa Regent, Cresta Atlantic and the Accra International Conference Centre.
Mr. Mireku, on his part, bemoaned the general apathy of the operators to such training programmes, saying the practice was not helpful.
He said although the two boards have the authority to inspect and shut down hotels and other institutions in the industry for non compliance with food safety regulations, he thinks there is the need to get the managers to appreciate the importance of abiding by the regulations.
Asked about what provisions have been made to ensure that all other hotels and local restaurants provided safe food for the visitors, he said that various training programmes had already been organised for all other food and accommodation providers.
John Odame-Darkwah, Deputy Chief Executive (Food Division) of the FDB, urged the operators to follow internationally accepted standards on food handling, storage and catering practices to avoid incidences of food poisoning.