Sucatrade, a member of the Finatrade Group of Companies, is calling for an independent laboratory test to assure the public of whether the chicken it imported to the country were wholesome or otherwise.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Monday, Mr Robert Nii Arday Clegg, Solicitor for Finatrade, said the call for an independent verification was not to malign the integrity of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) but rather to establish the truth.
“Sucatrade believes an independent laboratory test is necessary and assures all that if the results prove that any of its products are unwholesome it will bear the full cost of destruction of those products,” he said.
Mr Clegg said while Sucatrade was not against the destruction of the products, it believed that due process needed to be followed as the chicken samples taken away on December 15, 2011 were neither taken away in refrigerators nor any form of storage.
“The purported laboratory test which was done in the FDB’s own laboratory, being as self-serving as it can be, is dated December 23, 2011, eight days after the samples were taken away,” he said, adding that there was the need to investigate the intervening circumstances.
The FDB last Friday issued a statement in which it said its Post Market Surveillance Unit had found unwholesome chicken products in the Bulk Cold Storage Facility of Sucatrade Limited located at Tema Community One.
The Board, in a statement copied to GNA, said the whole consignment of chicken products about, 1,000 cartons, had been confiscated for safe disposal to prevent its entry into the food chain.
However, Mr Clegg said the FDB’s statement contorted the facts and in so doing dented both the reputation and business of Sucatrade unjustifiably.
He explained that the 1,000 cartons the FDB referred to were part of 250,000 cartons the company imported in the last quarter of 2011 from Tyson Foods.
But in the process of delivery the 1,000 cartons had their packaging damaged and the boxes were set aside in an open part at a Custom bonded warehouse and not a single carton had been sold or was intended to be sold to consumers, he said.
Mr Clegg said FDB officials visited the company’s premises on December 9, 2011 and issued a notice of detention which was duly signed by an official of Sucatrade in line with the law.
Consequently, the company wrote to FDB requesting it to approve and supervise the repackaging of the products with the damaged boxes.
Instead on December 15, 2011 FDB officials went to the warehouse and took three single pieces of chicken products out of the carton from the 1,000 group for a laboratory test.
Mr Clegg said on January 12, 2012, a group of persons claiming to be officials from the FDB visited the warehouse and threatened to forcefully enter with the aim to destroy chicken products but were denied access by Sucatrade staff, who insisted and demanded that proper documentation be produced.
On the same day, FDB wrote to the Assistant Commissioner of Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the release of the chicken products for destruction.
“Strangely, while the FDB letter to Sucatrade had one laboratory report which was negative, the letter to Customs Divison of GRA had two, the first being the same as the one Sucatrade received but the second saying that the test of the un-broken-seal-chicken showed that it was fit for human consumption,” he said.