Plea to adopt food safety management system

Kathmandu, September 5:

Adoption of Food Safety Management System (ISO: 22000:2005) has been identified as a compulsory need to ensure safe food to the consumers and facilitate international market for Nepal food items.

The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) and Nepal Bureau of Standards of Metrology (NBSM) have called all involved in the chain of food production to adopt the ISO: 22000 standard that requires them to abide by the food safety management system.

The standard includes interactive communication, system management, prerequisite programmes and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, the food risk management system for food processing and marketing.

The DFTQC and NBSM organised a seminar today where people involved in the food production participated. Uttam Kumar Bhattarai, DFTQC director-general, said the ISO standard is a must to protect consumers’ rights and compete in the global food market. The producers in the country must implement it and maintain the international standard, he said, adding that implementation of the ISO: 22000 will largely facilitate agricultural and marketing system in the country.

The ISO: 22000 brings together the HACCP and the ISO: 9000 and helps reduce all the relevant food safety hazards through identification and control. The government has formulated import and export certification directives.

“To support the directives and ensure food safety, the ISO: 22000 certification is a must,” said Tek Bahadur Thapa, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Thapa said only about five industries have implemented the HACCP.

NBSM director-general Dr Sita Ram Joshi said the certification is required to identify all levels involved in food chains and to harmonise the food safety management system. The prevalence of chemicals and pesticide residues are found high in our food items and the standard will help balance it, he added.

It may be noted that there are many cases of rejection of Nepali honey and tea in the international market due to high pesticides and chemical residues. The implementation of ISO: 22000 will help check it and being a WTO member, Nepal would be a strong shareholder of global business, said Surendra Bir Malakar, president of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industries.