According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Indonesian government has all key competencies to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its current food system domestically. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Indonesia Has Competencies to Protect Citizens With Strict Food Controls: FAO

BY :DAMES ALEXANDER SINAGA

JANUARY 25, 2018

Jakarta. The Indonesian government has all key competencies to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its current food system domestically, by following United Nations recommendations to allow it to develop a nationwide risk-based system, a UN official said in Jakarta on Wednesday (24/01).

Last year, the government was assessing the performance of the country's food control system with tools developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Catherine Bessy, food safety and quality officer at FAO, said that the assessment confirmed that Indonesia has all key competencies to control food products on its territory.

"Some competencies perform particularly well. For example, involvement in international food safety and food control governance is very robust in Indonesia, and the system avails itself of highly qualified personnel," Bessy said in Jakarta on Wednesday (24/01).

The performance of other competencies has been hampered by the highly fragmented nature of the system and the complexity this generates for all stakeholders, consumers, food business operators and public authorities, she said.

Bessy also said the government has a good understanding of risk analysis, but it remains difficult to get a clear picture of priority risks at the national level, as each authority works in parallel, in its own technical or geographic area, with very limited integration of data.

Both FAO and WHO have proposed recommendations to the government to allow the emergence of a nationwide risk-based system.

"It is believed that by moving from a food control system where competent authorities work individually to a system where these authorities are working together with common approaches and towards the same goal, effectiveness of public action will increase and consumers will benefit more in terms of protection of their health and economic rights," Bessy said.

Since April last year, nine ministerial institutions and 50 directorates, also at the local level, have been involved in the food control system assessment exercise facilitated by FAO and WHO.

Government Response

Anung Sugihantono, director general of public health at the Ministry of Health, said the ministry is committed to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of its current food control system by increasing cooperation with other ministries and agencies in provinces and districts.

"We strongly agree with these recommendations. They help the Ministry of Health to effectively and efficiently work toward achieving its targets. It is true that food safety and control is not under one agency, but is a shared responsibility," Anung said in a statement.

According to the ministry, 106 extraordinary cases of food poisoning were reported in 2016. The number increased to 142 last year.

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