Jakarta (Jakarta Globe) – The Ministry of Health and the National Agency for Drug and Food Control, or BPOM, are presenting a four-day workshop in Jakarta this week as part of efforts to raise food safety standards in Indonesia.

The food control system assessment workshop, supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), started on Monday (03/04).

It is aimed at raising the competence levels of Indonesian officials in food safety, and to enable them to self-assess their food control systems.

“The 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,” Mark Smulders, the FAO representative in Indonesia, said in a statement.

“An effective national food control system is needed to protect consumer health, and to ensure good trade practices. Safe food benefits everyone,” he added.

According to the statement, the FAO and WHO have developed a comprehensive assessment tool for food control systems, which comes along with guidance materials on its application, that will be useful for member countries.

Officials from the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry and National Standardization Agency (BSN) are also participating the workshop.

Representatives of provincial and district governments, industry associations, experts and executives of food-related research centers are also attending.

The FAO said globalization of food supply chains, combined with industrialization and urbanization, have changed the dietary habits of people around the world. This poses an important challenge to national authorities.

The statement cites surveillance and product sampling carried out by the BPOM between 2011 and 2015, which showed that the number of food products that did not meet acceptable standards increased by about 35 percent.

Hazardous substances misused as food additives and microbial contamination are often found in food products circulating in the country.

The FAO also cited BPOM data showing that the number of reported outbreaks of serious food poisoning in Indonesia increased to 61 in 2015 from 48 in 2013.

“Access to safe food is a basic human necessity, and is essential for food and nutrition security to be achieved. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,” the FAO said.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/workshop-aims-to-improve-food-control-systems-in-indonesia/