The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has closed down Samdoe Enterprise, a sachet water company at Spintex Road Community 18 in Accra.
The FDA’s action follows The Fourth Estate’s investigations which revealed that 144 sachet water companies operate without licenses.
The FDA in a statement dated July 12, 2023, said it shut down the operations of Samdoe Enterprise, producers of Perfect Ice Drinking Water, Aqua Link Drinking Water, and Leaders Drinking Water brands.
“The premises of Samdoe Enterprise was closed down as the company has been engaged in the production and distribution of unregistered brands of water products in an unlicensed, unhygienic manufacturing facility.
“The Authority’s Inspection Team uncovered major safety and quality issues, including operation in an unsuitable wooden structure, presence of open drains with algae and fungi growth, dirty filters, and no pest control regime,” the statement noted
The FDA warned the public to “immediately” stop patronising the three aforementioned brands. The authority also entreated retailers and distributors to “withdraw” the brands from the market.
In its investigation, The Fourth Estate discovered that Perfect Ice Drinking Water and Leaders Drinking Water, two out of the three brands, were unregistered. In addition, the labels on their sachets gave the names of their manufacturers as Leaders Enterprise and Sampson & Co. Ghana Ventures respectively.
When The Fourth Estate asked what the FDA intended to do about the other 142 unregistered brands, the FDA’s Head of Communications, Rhoda Appiah, replied in a text message: “I mentioned that the FDA may contact you for further information on your report concerning the 144 unregistered (for evidence of their continuous operation).”
According to the Public Health Act, 2012, (Act 851) individuals who “manufacture…, distribute, sell or supply food or expose food for sale” without the authorization of the FDA are “liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than seven thousand five hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than four years and not more than fifteen years or to both.”
The FDA earlier told The Fourth Estate in an email response that producers of unregistered sachet water brands are to suffer “a fine of 25,000 cedis or more, or imprisonment.”
However, when The Fourth Estate asked Mrs. Appiah whether the FDA would prosecute the owners of Samdoe Enterprise, she did not respond.
The FDA told The Fourth Estate in April 2023, that it is “more focused” on ensuring that illegal producers of sachet water complied with its regulations rather than processing them for prosecution.
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