The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has warned the public against the patronage and consumption of a brand of canned fish called ‘So Nice’ mackerel which is being sold on markets in Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.
This is because the FDA says it cannot vouch for the wholesomeness of the product which was imported into the country by Dotsisco Ventures.
So far, 500 cartons of the product have been confiscated by the Ashanti Regional Office of the FDA.
According to the Head of Communications at the FDA, Mr James Lartey, the owner of the product, Mr Kofi Dotsi, claimed that it was not meant for the Ghanaian market and that it was on transit to Togo.
However, he said, immediately the owner cleared the product, he allegedly diverted it for distribution on the local market.
Mr Lartey said the ‘So Nice mackerel’ was part of goods in six containers imported into the country and cleared by Dotsisco Ventures at the Tema Port.
Three of the containers, which were loaded with Asahi-branded mackerel, were impounded after the police discovered that the product had expired.
The product was crushed and destroyed at the Achimota Mile Seven Police Station yesterday by a team of officials from FDA and the police.
It was later transported to Kpone in Tema where it would be burnt.
Mr Lartey said after the police had confiscated the expired Asahi mackerel, the FDA joined the police to investigate how the owner cleared the product at the Tema Port.
“We discovered that ‘So Nice mackerel’ and Asahi mackerel were shipped into the country by Dotsisco Ventures, but the documentation covering them indicated that they were on transit to Togo,” he said.
He said once a consignment was not destined for the Ghanaian market, the authorities at the Tema Port were not required to check the contents of the containers.
However, immediately the goods were cleared from the Tema Port, he said, Mr Dotsi diverted the six consignments onto the Ghanaian market.
“The owner of the product managed to transport ‘So Nice mackerel’ to Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale,” he said.
Unfortunately, in his attempt to transport the Asahi mackerel to an unknown destination, the trucks broke down at Ofankor in Accra on October 2, this year, he said.
Mr Lartey said the owner tried to offload the product onto different trucks, but the odour from the expired mackerel caught the attention of the market women at Ofankor who alerted the police.
The police immediately went to the scene and arrested Mr Dotsi.
Further investigations by the police led to the discovery of the ‘So Nice mackerel’.
Mr Lartey said although the FDA could not describe ‘So Nice mackerel’ as expired, it could not also attest to its safety, considering the fact that it did not pass through any health checks at the Tema Port.
Concerning the confiscation of 500 cartons of ‘So Nice mackerel’, he said the product would be transported to Accra for a proper health check.
In the meantime, the FDA has warned the public not to patronise or consume ‘So Nice mackerel’ but rather alert the police on 0299802932 or 0299802933 if they found the product on the market.
Meanwhile, the police are carrying out further investigations into the matter.