The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) which is mandated with the regulation of food and drugs in the country, including manufacturing, importation, distribution and licensing, has contested the claims by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), that about 90 per cent of sachet water being sold are just packaged tap water.
The Head of Communications at the FDA, James Lartey has in his response on the issue, said that the FDA properly monitors the processes involved in the water business.
These claims had been made by The Public Relations Officer of GWCL, Stanley Martey in his response to a Demographic and Health Survey report by the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Statistical Service which said that 29 percent of Ghanaians rely on sachet water which may not not really be pure and might end up causing more harm than doing any good.
FDA’s James Lartey however said, that the processes for registering sachet water business does not allow companies to merely engage in repackaging of untreated water from the GWCL. He continued that they have up to 30 of their officers who man about 500 sachet water producers in the Greater Accra Region.
“With the processes that the FDA passes through and the monitoring we do, it is not possible that people will use direct water without filtering and then package it, it is not possible,” he said.
Also, James Lartey (of the FDA) when asked whether tap water was purified, went ahead to say that it was the responsibility of the FDA to regulate the import, export, manufacture, distribution and sale of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and chemicals, and not their duty to monitor such. He added that they had no mandate to check tap water as that is the duty of GWCL, and so they had no fact as to whether tap water is purified and safe for drinking.
The issue of increment in sachet water prices by the National Association of Sachet and Packaged Water Producers following the hikes in water tariffs, was what triggered the claims by GWCL’s Stanley Martey.