Stronger Food Control for Safer Food in Indonesia

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  • A woman holds a package of food during shopping at a Foodmart Fresh supermarket in Jakarta, June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Beawiharta

    A woman holds a package of food during shopping at a Foodmart Fresh supermarket in Jakarta, June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Beawiharta

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and the Health Ministry, with supports from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization), have collaborated to conduct a food control system assessment workshop from March 3 to April 6, 2017.

    The FAO and WHO have developed a new and comprehensive assessment tool for food control systems, along with guidance materials on its application, to be used by member countries.

    "FAO is committed to raising food safety in support of Indonesia's public health priorities, and as a vehicle to improve food quality, which is essential to achieving food and nutrition security. An effective national food control system is needed to protect consumer health, and to ensure good trade practices. Safe food benefits everyone," FAO representative in Indonesia Mark Smulders said at the opening of a National Workshop on Food control Systems Assessment in Jakarta on Monday, April 3, 2017.

    Also participating in the assessment workshop are the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Trade Ministry, the Industry Ministry, the National Standardization Agency (BSN), Provincial and District administrations, associations, industry experts and research centers.

    BPOM’s efforts to improve the food control system in Indonesia started in early 2014. With support from FAO, BPOM has facilitated a series of workshops, a study, and various stakeholder coordination workshops to strengthen the Food Standards and Food Safety Control System.

    Concerns with food control and food safety issues pose an important challenge to national authorities. Based on surveillance and product sampling by the BPOM between 2011 and 2015, the number of food products that did not meet acceptable standards, increased by about 35 percent. Among others, these food items contained hazardous substances misused as food additives, or manifested some form of microbial contamination. Over the period of 2013 until 2015, reported incidences of serious food poisoning increased from 48 to 61 outbreaks in the 34 provinces of Indonesia.

    FERY ANDRIANSYAH