Exercise on Hygiene and Safety in Bhutanese Food Business Operations
In order to help achieve the good quality and safe produce and to enjoy a long and prosperous period while serving the people, a three day Training Program on Hygiene and Safety in Food Business Operation was held at Taba, Thimphu from 19 till 21 December 2014. The Training Program is being organised by the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), Ministry of Agriculture & Forests with technical and financial support from the FAO of the UN as part of the ongoing FAO TCP project on “Strengthening Food Safety and Standards in Bhutan”.
Mr. A.K Sen, FAO Food safety expert is the resource person for the program and most of the participants were from the food business sector – food processing industries, meat shops, tourism and hospitality institutions, hoteliers and restaurant association, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines in flight catering units, BAOWE a NGO that coordinates street food vending and the BAFRA field officials across the country.
The general public is now taking more interest in what they are eating, where it has come from and that it is safe. Generally throughout the country food poisonings are on the increase and this demonstrates to pro- prietors of food businesses that they must ensure the food they sell is free from harmful bacteria, chemicals and physical contaminants. The onus is on us all to ensure that all food that is eaten is safe which otherwise will result in the public losing confidence in the food industry. To ensure the safety and quality of food, implementing a preventive approach based on risk that focuses on building quality and safety throughout the food chain, preventive approach focused more on ensuring that hazards are prevented from entering the food chain and reduced to acceptable levels through the implementation of Good Practices and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems. BAFRA has recognized the importance of Good Food Hygienic and Manufacturing Practices for ensuring the safety and quality of food and the prevention of food borne diseases ever since its designation as the National Food Inspectorate in 2003. The general food handlers training manual developed in 2008 lays down a strong foundation for ensuring food hygiene and recommends a preventive approach wherever possible to enhance food safety. Besides, in December 2013, specific categories of food handlers training manuals for street food vendors, meat handlers and those working in food process- ing establishments were developed with technical and financial support from the FAO to ensure need based training.
Further, these training manuals are now will be developed into specific food safety training modules with the objectives to strengthen the institutional capacity with respect to training requirements of food handlers, to provide training to trainers to support producers in increasing their awareness levels with a view to ensuring the production, handling, storage and transport of foods with a focus on food safety; and also to improve the knowledge gained on successful practices within the country focusing on food safety.