By Tabora Bojang
The director general of the Food Safety and Quality Authority has said the closure of the Brikama fish market amid prevailing unhygienic conditions was long overdue.
The Authority Tuesday issued a notice of closure to the fish market over “prevailing bad sanitation at the facility.”
“It is the most horrendous situation that I have ever seen in the market,” DG Mamodou Bah told The Standard yesterday.
He said despite being inundated with an unbearable stench, poor drainage and stagnant, waste water among others raising health concerns, there has been a complete negligence over the market, with the Brikama Area Council and the Fisheries Department shifting blame to the management of the market.
“In fact, this action is long overdue because conditions at the market are so bad. The fish waste is giving out an unbearable odour, in addition to the sewage coming from the plant. There is no proper drainage at the plant and because of that, the faeces and everything are mixing in a stagnant waste water with people moving in and out of the dirt and even placing food right in that condition to be sold. That is unacceptable and over the period people refuse to take responsibility. When you ask the Council, they will tell you it is Fisheries and Fisheries will say it is the Council. It was like shifting blame and as a result, we have to order an immediate closure. We have a legal mandate to do so, irrespective of who was running the place,” Director Bah stated.
He said in line with the Authority’s mandate to ensure foods processed, distributed, stored and sold in the country are fit for consumption, the Brikama fish market will remain shut until proper maintenance and cleanliness is observed.
According to the DG, 90 percent of the market vendors welcomed the closure and were supportive of the Authority.
“We are not stopping at the Brikama Market alone, we are moving to all the markets. And anywhere we find that conditions are unacceptable for safety and quality, we will definitely close it down until the place is improved to our desire,” he added.