Myanmar's Changing Food Safety Landscape

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), a member of the GFSP Governing Council, is supporting the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to upgrade its National Quality Infrastructure (NQI), which will help to increase export competitiveness, stimulate trade and export-led growth, and foster the development of value-added food products and the diversification of export market opportunities.

UNIDO, with funding from the Government of Norway is supporting the country to strengthen infrastructure services such as accreditation, standardization, metrology, calibration. This will be accomplished through the development of a National Quality Policy, provision of sustainable laboratory testing and quality assurance services, and enhancement of inspection capacities.

The project also aims to help food processing enterprises meet international standards required by global food supply chains.

UNIDO works closely with the national stakeholders at different levels:  

  • Enterprise level: Supporting 11 food processing companies to adopt relevant international standards under the GFSI's Good Markets Program.  
  • Advisory level: Qualifying six national consultants through an intensive one-year coaching program and enrollment into the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) qualification as accredited food safety trainers. In addition, local food safety training resources are under development in the local language through cooperation with the Food Science and Technology Association Myanmar (FoSTA) with the aim of recognizing them as an accredited food safety training provider in the country.
  • Laboratory testing level: Developing capacity of seven laboratories (three microbiological, one oil testing, two organic residues, inc. one pesticides in grains) through procuring equipment, training laboratory staff and supporting laboratories towards ISO 17025 accreditation.
  • Institutional level: in response to the Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) food safety capacity assessment, providing specialized training to 50 inspectors as well as tailored technical assistance related to Risk-Based Approaches (RBA) to the Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ministry of Health to help strengthen the food safety control system.

UNIDO is currently engaged with the government of Myanmar FAO, the World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation, and local and international retailers to formulate a second, large-scale phase of the project. This will include a comprehensive Sustainable Supplier Development Program to support many small and medium producers through their integration into the local and regional supply chains.

Thanks to UNIDO, a member of the GFSP Governing Council, for this contribution.

Picture: A Myanmar food safety team at work in a beans export company

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