President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Roland Affail Monney has appealed to journalists to depart from the excessive and compulsive politicization of issues and tell more nutrition focused stories to inspire Ghanaians to lead healthier lifestyles.
According to him the increasingly poor health status of Ghanaians today is an indictment on Journalists and the journalism profession.
Addressing some selected journalists at a day’s media training on product fortification and food labeling organised by Nestlé Ghana Ltd, the President GJA disclosed that many Ghanaians are dying in droves whiles others are suffering from preventable diseases as a result of poor food and beverage consumption because they are not privy to useful information on what to consume at what point in time.
“The poor health status of Ghanaians today is an indictment on our sense of responsibility as Journalists.” he reiterated.
Mr. Monney explained that journalism is not only about politics but a tool to ensure that Ghana developed holistically.
He therefore called for a change in direction. Saying journalists need to move from the usual New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) partisan politics and focus more attention, time and space to promote health issues.
It is our duty as journalists to provide the right education on food and beverages to help improve the health and wellbeing of very Ghanaian. The President GJA pointed out.
In her welcome address, the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager of Nestlé Ghana Ltd, Madam Deborah Kwablah urged participants to be good ambassadors and make the citizens aware of the importance of eating fortified foods and beverages.
She said her outfit came up with the “Live Strong With Iron campaign” which was launched in October, 2019 to drum home the need for the consumption of iron based foods.
Mad. Kwablah explained that Live Strong With Iron campaign seeks to sensitise the general populaces and also to inspire a behavioral change through simple nutritional solutions such as eating iron-rich and iron-fortified foods to prevent iron deficiency in Ghana.
“The campaign is also aimed at educating and empowering women and caregivers to understand the important role iron plays in spurring activeness, productivity, and a healthier lifestyle among individuals and families.
The Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager of Nestlé Ghana Ltd, believes that empowering the media to draw consumer’s attention to food fortification and labeling will help consumers become conscious and apply instructions on labels to build responsible eating habits’
Taking participants through the importance of Product Labeling, the Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Manager at Nestle, Mrs Margaret-Mary Tohouenou, said Food labeling guides consumers with directions to using products.
According to her, most consumers do not have the habit of reading product labels, thus, many consumers use products without having the right nutrition knowledge or even the application of certain ingredients in their daily food intake.
For example, there is no need for a consumer to add sugar to a cup of MILO® -all-in-one, neither should one include salt in preparing a meal where MAGGI is used. One important way to obtain such information is to read product labels. Mrs. Tohouenou explained.
She further explained that reading food labeling before buying a product was very important because the consumer should be able to know the content of the product he/she spends money on. Saying product labels usually comes with the name of product, nutrition information, manufacturer, expiration date, usage and storage instructions, portion size and claims.
“These information on the label helps consumers to know how to store food properly to last longer while the usage information enables consumers to decide on the right amount to eat at what point in time” She added.
A renowned nutritionist and a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof Matilda Steiner Asiedu, in her presentation highlighted the importance of consumers to read product labels to know what constitutes the product they are consuming.
She noted that this will help consumers know whether they are getting the required daily nutrition from products they are purchasing.
Prof. Steiner urged the media to tell stories on nutrition and drive attention to product label reading and fortification to help Ghanaians lead healthier lifestyles.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH