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Broad coalition to ramp up food safety in Myanmar

Myanmar’s food safety advocacy groups plan to bring around 400 stakeholders from the food industry together to discuss food safety issues and challenges in the country.

Myanmar Innovative Life Sciences (MILS), Myanmar Consumers Union and Food Science and Technology Association (FoSTA Myanmar) told the media at a press conference on Wednesday that they will organize a Food Safety Forum on Sept. 28 at Yangon University.

The forum will bring together producers from the agriculture, livestock, fishing, dairy, bakery, water, beverage and fast food industries as well as government officials, experts and parliamentarians, according to organizers.

Daw Su Lwin Htike, food safety adviser from MILS, said some food producers lack the knowledge and technical expertise to produce safe, high-quality products.

The forum aims to address the challenge of implementing food safety in Myanmar and enhance the capacity of food producers, she added.

Food safety has become a challenging issue not just for public health but also for nutrition security, the economy, trade, tourism and sustainable development. Food safety includes practices along the entire food supply chain that ensure food does not harm consumers, from production and processing to distribution and consumption.

Myanmar has a poor track record of preventing foodborne illnesses, often attributed to low public awareness and weak adoption of food safety practices among producers, processors, distributors and consumers, as well a lack of cooperation among government agencies involved in food safety.

Myanmar ranked 82nd out of 113 countries in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index for 2018.

Myanmar Consumers Union Secretary U Maung Maung said consumer protections and consumer education have long been neglected and are among the major difficulties the country faces around food safety.

He stressed the need to promote regulations, raise public awareness about the rights of consumers and enforce effective consumer protection systems.

“If consumers become more aware that they can file complaints, the businesses will also pay more attention and follow food safety practices,” he said.

The forum will also feature training workshops on good manufacturing practices, hazard analysis, critical control points in food processing, food hygiene and sanitation, food labeling, consumer relations and legal frameworks and compliance.

Source: The Irrawaddy

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