Food regulator to target illicit edibles in 2017
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.
Members of MCDC and the FDA gather sample products to test from a market in Mandalay.