Ex­er­cise on Hy­giene and Safety in Bhutanese Food Business Op­er­a­tions

Bhutan Times - - Home - An­jana Subba

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.

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