Agricultural Development and Commercialization

Vientiane, September 5 – Mekong Institute (MI) in partnership with Lao PDR’s Ministry of Health – Food and Drug Department (FDD) organized a two-day training workshop on Good Hygiene Practices (GHPs) Inspection under the PROSAFE: Promoting Safe Food for Everyone project in Vientiane on September 4 – 5, 2023. The training equipped 26 food inspectors from Vientiane Capital and the provinces of Champasak, Savannakhet, and Vientiane with essential skills and knowledge to effectively carry out food inspection and assessment using a risk-based approach.

Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department of MI, emphasized the significant role of food inspectors in upholding the integrity of the food industry. “Your participation in this training clearly shows your commitment as among the guardians of this country’s public health. The responsibility placed upon you is crucial, as is the trust vested in you by the public,” said Ms. Medialdia during the training.

Ms. Medialdia highlighted the importance of ensuring that food inspectors are capable of performing their duties in monitoring food business operators’ compliance with GHP requirements with the highest level of diligence. She added that skilled food inspectors and a collaborative learning environment would help promote a safe, hygienic, and trustworthy food system in Lao PDR.

Dr. Viengxay Vansilalom, FDD Deputy Director General and a longtime partner of MI in its PROSAFE project, expressed her gratitude for MI’s unwavering support in providing capacity-building activities in Lao PDR. Dr. Viengxay mentioned the timeliness of the training, coinciding with the recent revision of reference material on Lao PDR Good Hygiene Practices (GHPs). She added that the revised document now aligns with the Codex Alimentarius Standards, specifically the General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969) which has guidelines on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).

Experts from the Thailand Food and Drug Administration, Ms. Orasa Chongworagun and Ms. Thida Thaveerit facilitated the four-module course, providing participants with information on the criteria and techniques for GHP inspection.

Capacitating food inspectors from the provinces of Lao PDR, where food business operations are booming, is a significant step toward ensuring food safety for citizens. The training workshop is in line with the country’s commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in strengthening food safety measures and ensuring the safety of food products within the region.

The activity is organized under the PROSAFE Food Safety Network initiated by the PROSAFE Project. Funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme, PROSAFE aims to strengthen the food safety capabilities of stakeholders in the agri-food supply chain by fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV).

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