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Fried yam seller convicted for operating without medical clearance

The Somanya Magistrate Court has convicted a fried yam seller in the Eastern Region of Ghana for selling food without the required medical clearance.

Fried Yam Seller

Salamatu Mohammed, who operates in Nkurakan, Yilo Krobo, was fined GHC 600 for failing to complete mandatory health checks.

According to UTV News, food vendors in Ghana are expected undergo medical examinations to ensure they do not have any conditions that could pose health risks.

Despite completing some of the necessary tests, Mohammed did not fulfill all the regulatory requirements needed to legally sell her fried yams.

Salamatu admitted guilt to the charge of selling food without completing medical fitness examinations, in violation of Section 15 of the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly (General Sanitation) bye-law, 2022.

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This regulation is designed to maintain food hygiene and safety within the municipality.

Martin Abotsi, the Environmental Health Officer and Prosecutor for the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly, stated that the Assembly conducted medical examinations for food handlers across the municipality from February 27th to April 6th, 2023.

During the hearing, Magistrate Derick Ocloo emphasized the importance of medical clearance for all food vendors, stating that those found in violation could face arrest and conviction. He urged vendors to comply with health regulations to avoid legal repercussions.

The conviction has sparked significant reaction on social media, with many users expressing their opinions on the fairness and enforcement of the law:

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Babyface questioned whether other street vendors have undergone the necessary health checks, implying inconsistency in enforcement.

- Babyface (@kwadwocypha): "How many of these sellers hawking in the street have been vetted and approved by the Health Council?"

Isaac criticized the unequal treatment of wealthy individuals versus poor vendors, suggesting a more practical approach could have been taken.

-Isaac (@ikefenyi: "Woyome and Co. are walking freely. Does she have the money to pay? I agree she's not done right, but couldn't they have tested her to know whether she has any disease?"

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December, 7th argued that the poor are disproportionately affected by legal enforcement, contrary to Ghana’s ideals of justice.

- December, 7th (@zongo_dude): "It’s the poor that always suffer in the hands of the law. Nkrumah’s Ghana!"

NK also criticized the selective enforcement of health regulations, suggesting that larger establishments are not scrutinized as rigorously as small vendors.

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- NK 🇬🇭 (@Phacterz1): "It's always the vulnerable people they will attack. Go to big hotels and restaurants and see how they keep their foodstuffs and even how they prepare them."

The incident highlights ongoing concerns about health regulations for food vendors and the equitable enforcement of these laws across different socioeconomic groups.

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