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Product recalls over health concerns: The case of ‘Verna water’ et al.

Source The Ghana Report

Water they say is life, but not all water may save life.

So, when the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) ordered the recall of some Verna water products from the markets, the Ghanaian social media space buzzed with posts about consumer health.

Twellium Industrial Company, producers of Verna Mineral Water, was at the centre of stormy discussions.

Consumers who poured on social media demanded exact reasons behind the recall of some batches of the popular bottled water brand.

The refusal of the company to tell customers exactly why it had recalled some products and the possible health risk it posed to consumers seemed to have angered people, with many threatening legal action.

According to Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), “Recall” means a firm’s removal from further sale, distribution, or use, or correction, of a marketed product that does not meet regulatory requirements as specified in the Public Health Act and/or violates FDA guidelines.

These products could be drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, household chemicals, or investigational products that are locally manufactured or imported.

In the FDA Guidelines for Product Recall, a product can usually be recalled under three classifications:

-Class I: A dangerous or defective product that could cause serious health problems or death.
-Class II: A product that might cause a temporary health problem or pose a slight threat of a serious nature.
-Class III: A product that is unlikely to cause any adverse health reaction but violates FDA labelling or manufacturing laws.

Product recalls are not new in Ghana, as several brands have been removed from the shelves over safety reasons, even though the numbers have increased in the past few years.

The adverse effect on companies involved in recalls can be enough to send them out of business as consumers lose confidence in the products and boycott them in the long run.

In the midst of the “Twellium Industrial” Company PR hullabaloo, The Ghana Report examines other products recalled in a similar fashion.

  • Twellium Industrial Company( Verna Mineral Water)

In a statement published on July 28, 2022, the company announced that it was recalling a particular batch of bottled water produced between April and June 2022.

They said that batch was voluntarily recalled to ensure their consumers had the experience they deserved.

The publication also encouraged people to report all unwholesome water to the FDA to help in investigations on the alleged issue.

Though consumers were advised to return any batches in their possession to any ‘Twellium’ distributor near them, some people expressed displeasure about the company’s failure to explain the reasons for the recall.

 

  • Nestle Ghana (Ideal and Carnation Milk)

 

On January 10, 2022, Nestle Ghana, manufacturers of Ideal Milk and Carnation Tea Creamer, and the FDA recalled 24 batches of evaporated milk from the Ghanaian market.

This was after consumers raised a furore on social media due to their discovery of coagulated milk products they purchased.

Investigations conducted by the Food and Drugs Authority in collaboration with Nestle revealed that the coagulated milk products posed no health hazards to the users.

The investigation proved that the skimmed milk powder (raw material) used to produce the milk had poor heat stability. This resulted in the protein denaturing, leading to milk coagulation.

  • Pioneer Foods/Transmed Ghana (Ceres 100% Fruit Juice)

The Food and Drugs Authority(FDA), in collaboration with Transmed Ghana Limited, announced a recall of some batches of Ceres 100% Fruit Juice from the Ghanaian market in October 2021.

FDA did this recall after receiving information from the International Food Safety Network (INFOSAN) and the product manufacturer.

Pioneer Foods Groceries (Pty) Limited, South Africa, confirmed the products contained high levels of mycotoxin-patulin, a food mould, above the regulatory threshold.

According to the World Health Organization, consuming products with high levels of mycotoxin-patulin can cause nausea, gastrointestinal issues and vomiting.

 

  • COA Herbal Centre (COA FS)

COA FS dietary supplement was recalled by the FDA in April 2020, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, after some samples revealed E.Coli contamination.

FDA cited the excessive microbial mould and yeast contamination detected in the drug could weaken compromised immune systems.

This move came as a surprise to many Ghanaians who believed the supplement could fight the Corona Virus.

 

  • Rabaj Company Limited (Cindy and Lele Tomatoes Paste)

Cindy and Lele canned tomatoes paste, products of Rabaj Company Limited, were recalled on November 29, 2019, in Ghana.

Rabaj asked distributors and retailers to return all Cindy and Lele Tomato pastes from the market as management identified an anomaly in a particular batch.

A public notice published in the Daily Graphic asked individuals possessing the two brands to return them to the retail outlets where they were purchased to enable the manufacturers to clear the particular defective batch from the market.

 

  • Kinapharma(Primadol 500mg Tablet)

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), with the support of the United States Pharmacopeia’s Promoting Quality of Medicines (PQM) Annual Surveillance Project (2018) for Antimalarial and Analgesics found batches of the Primadol 500mg Tablet not to have met quality standards.

The FDA, therefore, directed the manufacturers of this product, Kinapharma, to recall them from the Ghanaian market.

  • Charme Sparkling Non-alcoholic Grape Juice

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) recalled 270 cartons of expired Charmé sparkling non-alcoholic red and white grape juice from the market in November 2021.

Distributers of the wine were arrested after the FDA received a tip-off from a concerned citizen.

 

  •  Midwestern Pet Foods(Pro Pac Originals, Sportmix, and Splash Pet foods)

In a press statement signed by the Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Authority, dated February 18, 2021, the FDA informed the public about the recall of the various brands of pet foods manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods in the United States of America (USA), which were on the Ghanaian market.

The FDA explained that the recall was due to high aflatoxin contamination, which had caused the death of 70 dogs and other illnesses in another 80.

 

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