Food Safety Law
enacted in Parliament
Commission will be
founded to control the sector
Parliament enacted, in its plenary session last month, the Food Safety Law, which applied regulations for companies, farmers, and importers.
Mounir Bissat, Secretary General of the Syndicate of Food Industries, said: “It is a big achievement for industrialists. If the law had existed before, there would not have been a food safety crisis last year.”
The law established the Food Safety Lebanese Commission (FSLC), which will be an independent entity working under the Cabinet’s authority. “The commission will have prerogatives to decide on issues related to food safety. It will help industrialists to a large extent, if it included professionals from the food sector, who can give scientific opinions,” said Bissat.
FSLC will include a board of directors comprising seven members assigned by the Council of Ministers for five years.
Funds required for the commission will be allocated from the Government’s annual budget, the treasury allocations, as well as donations and grants.
The commission is responsible of proposing and enacting the texts required for applying the law, and the procedures for controlling its implementation. It is also responsible of setting the food safety policy, the norms and technical standards related to food, pesticides, fertilizers, and fodder. FSLC is also required to set the studies, research, and statistics related to food safety, workshops, seminars and issuing publications related to food safety. It is also responsible for analyzing the risks of using a food product, collecting all the technical and scientific information of the product. FSLC should trace the food product, check the packaging standards, take selective samples from it, and control the testing process to ensure its safety. The commission may receive complaints from citizens and refer them to concerned departments, and may set awareness campaigns in the media about food safety.
The commission may coordinate with concerned ministries to issue decisions including the conditions for producing and manufacturing food, pesticides, fertilizers, fodder, hygiene conditions, and packing and labeling conditions. All ministries and concerned administrations are required to report each month on food safety violations.
Bissat said that the law includes several loopholes, mainly the conflict of authorities between the ministries. “This problem has resulted in several opinions about the food safety standards,” said Bissat. He said that the commission should be the sole authority in taking decisions if food institutions are abiding by the standards.
Date Posted: Dec 02, 2015