Saturday, July 22, 2017

FDA to promote food safety awareness

Vital information on the safety of food, drugs and cosmetic products in the market will be extended to people in rural areas starting next month, said DrThan Htut, Director General of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Forestry department staff need to do fieldwork to ensure the machines they use do not cause any environmental damage. Photo - StaffForestry department staff need to do fieldwork to ensure the machines they use do not cause any environmental damage. Photo - Staff

“The campaign which will be implemented in villages will start in May. We will train representatives from 15 states and regions on information on food and drug safety in their areas,” he told The Myanmar Times.

“We need the help of locals, like volunteers, to educate the people and conduct surveillance. We plan to implement the program in villages in the 2017-18 financial year,” he added.

Dr Than Htut said despite the department’s limitations in terms of staff strength to carry out outreach programs, it is necessary to educate villagers on food and drug safety because more than 70 percent of the population live in rural areas.

Starting in May, FDA will conduct door-to-door visits at least three times a month to educate the people, he said.

The awareness campaign at village levels will also include putting up posters and lists of unregistered and unsafe foods, drugs and cosmetics.

Training for state and regional representatives will be conducted in Nay Pyi Taw, added Dr Than Htut.

FDA will visit the states of Kachin, Kayah, Shan, Chin and Rakhine as well as Tanintharyi Region to educate and conduct training on food, drugs and cosmetics safety.

A spokesperson from Mon State FDA said that unregistered and fake medicines are one of the biggest problems in the rural areas.

“Although we have controls, the cooperation of locals is very important to reach people at lower levels,” said the spokesperson.

Unregistered and fake medicines can be easily purchased from various vendors, such as unofficial drug shops, general stores and betel leaf shops.

FDA has stepped up efforts to prevent and control unregistered and fake drugs, cosmetics and food products in the market since 2016.

It has opened 27 district branches, with four more to be set up during the 2017-18 financial year, according to Dr Than Htut.

“We can start the campaign in the villages after the district branches are opened. District branches can provide services for these villages,” he said.