Food reg­u­la­tor to tar­get il­licit ed­i­bles in 2017

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han

MAK­ERS of ed­i­ble goods have been put on no­tice: The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion will crack down on prod­ucts found to be in vi­o­la­tion of the rel­e­vant laws and reg­u­la­tions be­gin­ning next year.

“If we find them [con­tra­ven­ing food­stuffs] in the mar­ket­place in the com­ing year, from Jan­uary on­ward, we will seize them. If they [pro­duc­ers] do not obey, we will take ac­tion in ac­cor­dance with the law,” FDA direc­tor gen­eral Dr Than Htut told re­porters yes­ter­day.

The statu­tory frame­work for pro­duc­ers of ed­i­ble goods is pri­mar­ily con­tained within the Food and Drug Law. Among other pro­vi­sions, it lays out a set of re­quire­ments for prod­uct la­belling, in­clud­ing list­ing dates of pro­duc­tion and ex­pi­ra­tion.

“Our depart­ment is not the only one per­form­ing [food checks], rather the Myan­mar Po­lice Force, mu­nic­i­pal [au­thor­i­ties] and other peo­ple from law en­force­ment and other NGOs lo­cal and for­eign will also co­op­er­ate,” Dr Than Htut said.

The FDA has is­sued its reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments for ed­i­ble goods pro­duc­ers in the past, he said, but vi­o­la­tors con­tin­ued to be a prob­lem.

“In its pro­duc­tion, food is for peo­ple and it is the con­cern of our depart­ment,” the FDA direc­tor gen­eral said.

“They [food pro­duc­ers] need to get our depart­ment’s rec­om­men­da­tion. They need to ap­ply for it and we will ex­am­ine the food – whether it is good for health or not. If the food is safe, we will give them the rec­om­men­da­tion. Then, mu­nic­i­pal [au­thor­i­ties] will give them a li­cence. They must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their pro­duc­ing.”

The FDA takes its re­spon­si­bil­ity to up­hold health and safety stan­dards se­ri­ously, Dr Than Htut said, adding that mem­bers of the pub­lic who be­lieve food­stuffs to have been pro­duced in vi­o­la­tion of the Food and Drug Law are en­cour­aged to re­port their sus­pi­cions to the FDA.

The food and drug reg­u­la­tor, which is un­der the Min­istry of Health and Sports, has pre­vi­ously an­nounced plans to crack down on ed­i­ble goods con­tain­ing il­le­gal dyes and other pro­hib­ited ad­di­tives, as well as un­li­censed drugs. In one of its more mem­o­rable in­ter­ven­tions, the FDA in 2014 did a prod­uct probe of snack­maker Oishi’s potato fries af­ter a photo of one of the sticks “burn­ing like a can­dle” caused a stir on so­cial me­dia.

Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Mem­bers of MCDC and the FDA gather sam­ple prod­ucts to test from a mar­ket in Man­dalay.

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