The Ghana Food and Drugs Authority has taken on Ghanaian female artist Wendy Shay over comments regarding a longstanding policy barring celebrities and other notable people from advertising alcoholic beverages.
In a social media post on Thursday and cited by The Big Trendin, the ‘Bedroom Commando’ hitmaker complained about the existence of such a policy and how she has had to lose a potential endorsement deal involving a foreign alcohol company.
She wrote on Twitter:
“I just lost a deal worth 1000’s of dollars with a foreign alcohol company. I didn’t know in Ghana Celebrities can’t advertise for alcoholic beverages according to FDA. Like seriously?! Small food we go chop too you wan take 4rm our mouth. Gh celebs wake up !!FDA lift dat ban !!”
But the national regulatory body in a swift response to the post appears to subtly chide the musician’s apparent ignorance while at the same time providing some form of public health education on the need for such guidelines.
Responding to Wendy Shay’s tweet, the FDA said:
Dear Wendy Shay Official,
The guidelines on the advertisements of food states clearly that no well-known personality or professional shall be used to in alcoholic beverage advertisement.
The FDA is not trying to take food away from your mouth but rather trying to protect the young ones who idolize you from the abuse of alcohol.
On the other hand, we can collaborate with you to use your influence to educate the youth against alcohol abuse.
FDA... Your Well-being, Our Priority.
In March 2017, the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Mental Health Authority and FDA launched a national policy to regulate the production, distribution, sale, and advertisement and consumption of alcohol in Ghana. Additionally, the FDA since 2013 has been implementing provisions under section 3.2 of the Guidelines for the Advertisement of Food (FDA/FID/GL-AD/2013/05) that specifically relates to alcohol use in Ghana.
Currently, available data estimates that up 2.1% of Ghanaian youths are heavy drinkers and hence the objective of of these policy measures are to protect the youth from the potential adverse health impact to the nation.
According to the FDA, flouting these guidelines carries 15 years prison term and a fine of 7,500. Ghana cedis.