In his opening remarks, The Federal Minister for Defence Production, Mr. Rana Tanveer Hussain said, “Pakistan’s food industry is the 2nd largest and plays a key role in the country’s economic growth. Establishing harmonized food standard practices protect consumers and facilitate international trade. Our political leadership needs to resolve the issue of having a different standard for each province. It is unfortunate that we don’t have a National Food Standards Council yet. Provincial food authorities should play a positive and proactive role in promoting industry and future investments. This issue is not a matter of personal ego rather the adoption of international best practices. The national conference organized today will give new direction to scientists, regulators and other stakeholders for a way forward on harmonization of food standard and safety.”
The Minister was speaking at the National Conference tilted “Food Safety and Harmonization: shaping a Healthier Nation” organized under the Ministry of Science and Technology with Nestlé Pakistan. The conference brought to light the need for harmonization of food legislation in Pakistan to ensure food quality and standards which protect the health of consumers while facilitating trade at the domestic and international level.
Ms. Awilo Ochieng Pernet, the outgoing Chairperson of Codex Alimentarius Commission in her keynote address commented, “The effective implementation of food safety and standards enable access of national products of regional and international markets. Putting food safety and national food rules on political agenda is the first step towards economic growth for Pakistan.”
Mr. Bruno Olierhoek Managing Director and CEO Nestlé Pakistan Ltd & Vice President Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) stressed, “Pakistan should have one National Food Council on federal level, responsible for making one National Food Standard for the whole country while all Provincial Food Authorities should be responsible for enforcing these standards. These standards must be harmonized with CODEX International Standards so that import and export can also be facilitated. One Pakistan, One Food Rules!”
The conference also had two technical sessions on food harmonization and food safety which were chaired by Mr. Malik Zahoor Ahmad, Senior Advisor, Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Prof. Dr. Tahir Zahoor, Director General, National Institute of Food Science and Technology. The two sessions saw participation from Mr.Khalid Siddiq, Director General Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (bn PCRWR) and Mr. Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, Director General Punjab Food Authority (PFA). The two sessions concluded that it was harmonization of safe food rules was essential across Pakistan. In attendance at the conference also present was CEO Unilever Pakistan.
Speaking at the Valedictory session, Muhammad Pervez Malik, Federal Minister for Commerce commented,” Unsafe food causes more than 200 million deaths across the globe. Food safety is a cross cutting issue and requires participation from all stakeholders including: consumers, private sector, governing bodies and regulators. It is only when we have harmonized standards based on global standards like Codex that we will have access to international markets. We are one nation, let’s make our food safe and let’s harmonize ourselves”.
Secretary Board of Investment (BOI), Azhar Ali Chaudhry in his concluding remarks said, “Food safety and harmonization of standards both are extremely important. Harmonization is an integral part of BOI’s objectives to create an investment friendly environment. Food sector is sensitive as food is difficult to manage without set standards. Adopting internationally accepted standards are conducive to trade and also likely to reduce costs to develop nation specific standards. Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Agriculture should take steps to harmonize food standards to encourage investment.”
Globally, EU is a great example of food harmonization. 27 countries of European Union have one food standard that is approved by EU Commission. All the food industries in the Europe follow the same standards while each country is responsible for enforcing those standards.
About Nestlé Pakistan
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 191 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2000 brands include local favorites like NESTLÉ MILKPAK, NESTLÉ PURELIFE and NESTLÉ FRUITA VITALS. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.
For further information, please contact:
Corporate Media Relations Manager, Nestlé Pakistan
Contact number: 042-35988138
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