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Conference on US food safety laws amidst gap in national legislation

16-12-2013

Wafiq Association for Economic Development and Investments organised in collaboration with the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce a conference on “food safety development law: the new food safety matrix - Lebanese obstacles and hopes”.  The event was organised last Friday at the headquarters of the Chamber of Industry and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon under the auspices of the Ministries of Agriculture, Economy and Trade.  The conference sought to help Lebanese industrialists in understanding the law on food safety which was issued by the American Food and Drug Administration as well as encourage them to apply it so that they can export to the USA and secure health and economic benefits for Lebanon and the region.  The Minister of Industry, Freij Sabounjian, noted that the Ministry is working to strengthen strategies seeking to improve food safety.  He highlighted that the food industry sector is growing fast internally and is also in high demand internationally.

The conference coincided with a report published by As Safir newspaper on this food safety bill which has been in pipeline since 2005.  The report notes that Judge Bassem Takieddine issued on last Friday as well, a court decision, ordering the closure of a warehouse in Ashrafyeh as it contained food items which had expired in September 2011.  The court order stipulated a sentence of one year in prison and a penalty of 50 million Lebanese pounds.  The president of the Consumers’ Society, Mr. Zouhair Berro noted that the issue of the food safety law is not addressed seriously as many commercial interests will be harshly hit if the law was to be implemented.  He expressed his concern with the nonchalance of legislative and the executive powers in dealing with this issue especially since such law will cut on the profits of those currently benefiting from total impunity.
Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Al-Nahar, Al-Hayat, Al-Safir 16 December 2013

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