Agency:Welfare of population depend on food security
The health and welfare of the population and the healthy growth of future generations are directly dependent on the food safety, Head of the Department of Communication and Information Technologies of the Food Safety Agency of Azerbaijan Aynur Karimova said in an interview with Azernews.
Karimova said that food safety is part of national safety and food safety means healthy food.
“Bad food is even more dangerous than armed attacks. Diseases caused by malnutrition, threaten not only the future of the people, but also the existence of people. To ensure food safety for the health of our population is one of the main challenges today,” she noted.
The head of the department stressed that it is important to have foreign goods on sale for abundance on the market, free market relations, as well as competitiveness of local goods: “Ensuring the safety of these products is an important task for us.”
Also, compliance with local products, packaging, transport, sanitation and hygiene must be ensured, according to Karimova.
She mentioned that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on November 13, 2017 to ensure the activities of the Food Safety Agency.
“At the same time, the President signed a decree on the transfer of state property, consisting of laboratories, administrative buildings and logistics under the property of the Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Healthcare to the property of the Food Safety Agency. All these actions allow us to begin to work with greater readiness,” she said.
“In addition, we are studying international experience in the field of food safety, and the working mechanism of similar organizations in a number of countries,” the security agency emphasized.
It was further reported that the Food Safety Agency will monitor food safety at all stages of the food chain in the country and will protect consumer rights, adding that protection of the rights of the consumers will be aimed at providing them with healthy food.
“Our mission is to closely work with all aspects of the food chain. A farmer, an importer of the final product, a dealer or a supplier - everyone should understand that his task is to provide people with healthy and safe food. We want our control mechanism to support local producers. The introduction of standards and the implementation of food safety requirements should increase sales of domestic products throughout the country and increase market share and improve export competitiveness,” the head of the department stressed.
Speaking of the legislative and legal acts, aimed at achieving food security in the country, Karimova stressed that there are numerous legislative acts, standards, sanitary and hygienic norms related to the safety of food products in Azerbaijan.
“There is a legal framework in the country that prohibits the production and sale of products with GMOs. Standards for halal products and standards for various food products have been approved. At present, the regulatory and technical base of the Food Safety Agency is under development,” she noted.
The head of the department highlighted that a food safety project is currently being developed, and the proposals on a number of bills have been submitted to the Azerbaijani Parliament.
She said that a number of proposals have been prepared to the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Food Products”, “On Standardization”, “On Sanitary and Epidemiological Well-Being”, “On Phytosanitary Control”, On Veterinary Medicine”.
The Agency plans to conduct scientific and practical research in the field of food safety, to conduct scientific risk assessment, to prepare draft regulations on food safety, to provide implementation of voluntary application of international standards by producers to food products and to research services on food safety indicators.
There are similar institutions in European countries, the U.S., and Australia. These institutions play a very important role in the conduct of scientific research, especially in the field of food safety.
“We are sure that we will be able to create such institution in Azerbaijan,” Karimova concluded.