The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has asked the media to ensure that advertisements on food, medicines and cosmetics brought for advertisement are duly endorsed by the Authority before such adverts are aired of published.
“A manufacturer or distributor, advertising agent and advertising media and or organisation who advertises a food product without the prior approval of the Authority shall be in breach of this guidelines and shall be fined an administrative charge as specified in the fees and charges Amendment Instrument, 2013 (LI2206)”.
At a stakeholders meeting held in Accra to educate the media and advertisers on the laws concerning advertisement of food and alcoholic beverages, Mr Hudu Mogtari, FDA Chief Executive Officer said the move by the Authority to regulate advertisements of certain products are backed by the Public Health Act 2012, Act 851, which mandates it to enforce the law in a bid to protect public Health.
He said the FDA had toured other parts of the country to engage the citizenry and media personnel on the reviewed laws on advertisements and on the need to work to secure public health.
Mr Mogtari urged all to support FDA at regulating and sanitising the system to ensure orderliness in the advertising landscape.
Mr Thomas Amedzro, Head of Drug Enforcement Unit of FDA, said the law cautions against adverts with content that exaggerates, offers refund of money to persons and misleading to the public.
He said all contents of advertisement involving medicines, cosmetics, household chemical as well as alcoholic beverages must contain precaution statements like “Not to be taken by pregnant women or lactating mothers’, or ‘must be kept out of reach of children”.
He said Act 851 also prohibits advertisement for the treatment, prevention or cure of certain diseases like sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS or diseased connected to human reproductive functions.
Other diseases for which advertisement for the treatment and prevention or cure is prohibited includes alcoholism, blindness, cancer, diabetes, hernia, infertility, obesity, prostrate diseases, and sexual impotence.
Mrs Isabella Mensa Agra, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Food Inspectorate Division, FDA, said the Food Advertisement Guidelines also bans radio and television advertisement of alcoholic beverages from 0600 to 2000 hours.
She said no well-known personality or professional is allowed to advertise alcohol.
“No well-known personality or professional shall be used in alcoholic beverage advertisements. Approval will be revoked where a personality subsequently appeals to persons under the legal drinking age,” she added.
Mrs Agra explained that all such advertising must be consistent with a sense of responsibility in depicting the serving or use of liquor and also advertisements shall not promote or depict excessive consumption of alcohol.
“An advertisement shall not imply that consumption of alcoholic beverage is required for social or professional achievements, personal success, any sporting activity, sexuality, pleasure, resolution of social, physical or personal problems.
Mr Francis Dadzie, a member of the Advertisers Association of Ghana expressed support for the prohibition of the use of professionals and well known personalities in advertising alcoholic beverages, saying that, “it is not done in Nigeria and in other jurisdictions and in the USA alcohol is advertised after 10pm”.
Most of the stakeholders, including advertisers, manufacturers, television and radio operators welcomed the new law and guidelines regarding advertisements but appealed that more time should be given them to educate clients on the law.