Sat, 09 Oct 1999

Government proposes food safety regulation

JAKARTA (JP): Interim State Minister of Food and Horticulture Farid A. Moeloek signed on Friday the draft of a government regulation on food safety, quality and nutrition.

However, the minister failed to mention when the draft would be submitted for the president's approval, citing the General Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) which will elect a president on Oct. 20 as the reason.

The draft is meant to guarantee food safety and security, according to Moeloek.

"The regulation will have to be imposed on every food producer from big factories to producers of homemade food products," Moeloek told reporters in a press conference about the draft.

Comprising 11 chapters, the draft regulation sets standards of producing and processing food in the country.

It also stipulates the body which will supervise the enforcement of the regulation and impose sanctions on violators. Food producers who violate the regulation will face a fine of up to Rp 600 million (US$70,588) and a maximum of five years in jail.

The country enacted in 1996 Nourishment Law No. 7, which states that food is a human basic need.

To implement the 1996 law, the government has proposed four regulations. They concern commercial food ingredient labels, food security, food quality and nutrition and food safety. The first regulation was issued last July.

Moeloek said the draft he signed combined food security and quality and nutritional aspects, due to a number of overlapping issues.

According to the draft, the food production process, which ranges from storage to distribution, must comply with certain hygiene standards. It is imperative for each food producer to apply strict procedures to control the hygiene of food.

Food additives are restricted to those listed by the Ministry of Health. Concerning food innovation and radiation, producers must test the safety of the product before selling it.

The draft also recommends that the Ministry of Health ban the distribution of contaminated food and that which has passed its sell-by date, the criteria of which will be set afterwards by the ministry. (04)