National Food Safety Emergency Response Plan (FoSERP)

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This Plan is prepared by the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and other partners with the ultimate aim of providing a coordinated and consistent inter-agency approach to prepare for, respond to, and recover from food safety emergencies in Ghana.

This Plan is situated within the context of the National Public Health Emergency Response Plan (NPHERP) and will be activated when emergencies occur along the food chain.

The Policy serves as the single, overarching national operational plan to address the full spectrum of natural and technological hazards and bio-terrorist threats along the food chain and defines the emergency operating structure and assigns essential tasks to all organization/agencies involved in prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts.

The text further provides instruction for communicating food incident details to, and between food businesses as well as government agencies and provides mechanisms for vertical and horizontal command, control, coordination, and communications.

As to emergency operations phase, the “prevention, protection, and mitigation” phase of the Plan involves immediate steps to protect consumers; ensure the safety and defence of food and animal feed, and other information to a range of directed countermeasures.

The “response” phase of the Plan includes those immediate and sustained actions to ensure the safety of the food chain and to protect the public’s health throughout the duration of an incident.

The “recovery” phase includes short- and long-term actions to ensure and restore the safety and availability of food and to protect the public’s health. Incident command and subordinate planning, operations, logistics, and finance/administration functions lay the foundation for the implementation of the FoSERP during a food safety hazard response, at national, regional and district levels, and across geographic divides.

The FoSERP Management Committee (FoSERP/MC) consist of high-level management representatives from selected institution, and they come together during emergency to develop the Incident Action Plan (IAP) for the management of the emergency.

The FoSERP Operation Center (FoSERP/OC) provides secretarial support to the FoSERP/MC. They shall assess each alert receive to categorise it as an incident or emergency.

The Plan further provides for the requirements for communications and information management that provide uniform understanding across all agencies that is essential for gaining and maintaining situational awareness and making decisions. FoSERP/OC is responsible for coordinating the release of information to the public during food safety emergency.

The Plan finally refers to an effective monitoring and evaluation system, as part of the process, that will be built into the strategic framework from the onset. The system will monitor the implementation of the Plan and performance against a set of pre-determined indicators at all levels.

The Plan consists of 6 Chapters as follows: Introduction (1); Emergency Operations Phase (2); Organization and Their Responsibilities (3); Direction, Control, and Coordination (4); Communications and Information Management (5); Monitoring and Evaluation (6). The Plan has 7 Appendixes, 9 list of figures and 2 tables.

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