Ghent University and University of Ghana
Mr. Kennedy Bomfeh is a Food Scientist currently pursuing his PhD in Food Safety Risk Assessment at Ghent University, Belgium. His research is focusing on the impacts of traditional and novel fish smoking methods on the safety of hot-smoked fish, from a risk assessment perspective. He also manages the safe production of a food supplement for a research in the University of Ghana aimed at improving the health of Ghanaian children aged 6 to 24 months through modified feeding.
From traditional to novel kilns: Risk-based improvement of the safety of smoked fish in Ghana
Fish forms about 60% of animal protein consumed by Ghanaians. The bulk of the fish is hot-smoked traditionally using dried wood as fuel. That method results in unsafe levels of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in smoked products. A new smoking technique, called FAO-Thiaroye Technique (FTT-Thiaroye), was recently introduced in Ghana to address the PAH problem. This study investigated the efficacy of the innovation through comparative fish smoking tests. Data obtained showed that products from traditional kilns had PAH levels 13 to 33 times the European Union (EU) maximum limits (ML), whereas values for FTT-Thiaroye were lower than EU MLs. The results demonstrate the efficacy of FTT-Thiaroye to reduce PAHs in smoked fish and thus improve the safety of the products. Risk assessment based on margin of exposure showed that traditional kiln products raise public health concerns requiring risk management action, whereas FTT-Thiaroye products do not.