Bangladesh is now well on its way to harmonizing with Codex standards and in doing so, the country is laying the foundations to establish itself a trusted supplier of quality, safe food, experts said at a workshop on Saturday.
They opined that food safety is not only important for Bangladesh’s food and nutrition security but also critical for the country’s ambition to increase food exports.
The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), today marked a major step towards harmonisation with the international ‘food code’.
The workshop was held at the InterContinental hotel in Dhaka.
Cabinet Secretary, Md. Mahbub Hossain attended the workshop as the chief guest while Wahida Akter, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture; and Md. Ismiel Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Food attended as special guests.
The event was chaired by Md. Abdul Kayowm Sarker, Chairman, BFSA. Former Chairperson of Codex Alimentarius and FAO international food safety expert Sanjay Dave gave a keynote address on the significance of aligning food safety and quality regulations with Codex. Maurizio Cian, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, gave a speech.
Speakers observed that the development of food standards in Bangladesh has been making good progress over the past several years. International food trade has existed for thousands of years but until not too long ago, food was mainly produced, sold, and consumed locally.
Over the last century, the amount of food traded internationally has grown exponentially, and a quantity and variety of food never before possible travels the globe daily. In fact, international food trade is a USD 2 000 billion a year industry, they said.
Food safety is not only important for Bangladesh’s food and nutrition security but also critical for the country’s ambition to increase food exports. It was recognised some time ago that it was necessary to upgrade Bangladesh’s food standards and bring them up to par with international standards.
Consumers need to be able to trust the safety and quality of the food they buy, and importers need to trust that the food they order will be in accordance with their specifications. The Codex Alimentarius, or ‘Food Code’ is a collection of standards, guidelines, and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
FAO Representative Robert D. Simpson said: “Bangladesh’s food is becoming more international: not only is Bangladesh producing more food, but it is also exporting and importing more food. This is why harmonization with international standards is so important. With support from FAO, Bangladesh is now well on its way to harmonizing with Codex standards and in doing so, the country is laying the foundations to establish itself a trusted supplier of quality, safe food.”
Through its Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH) project, which is co-funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union, FAO has been assisting Bangladesh to modernise its food control system and accelerate the implementation of internationally accepted food standards and best practices.
Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt congratulated stakeholders via a video message. He said: “More than 11 200 food standards were drafted by 27 technical working groups with more than 200 experts in the relevant areas .”