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Formation of a six-member ministerial committee to safeguard the health and safety of citizens after the Natamycin case


Minister of Public Health, Wa2el Abu Faoor convened a large meeting in his office yesterday during which he discussed with his guests the mechanisms for a joint coordination between Ministries in order to safeguard the health and safety of citizens.  The meeting was attended by the Ministers of Agriculture and Economy, Akram Chehayeb and Alain Hakim, the president of the Parliamentary Commission on Health, Atef Majdalani, the director general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Louis La7hud, and the director general of the Ministry of Economy, Fouad Fleifel.  The Minister of Industry, Hussein Hajj Hassan, was not present in view of an emergency.
Following the meeting, Minister Abu Faoor announced the formation of a committee including the director generals of the Ministries of Public health, Agriculture, Industry, Economy and Environment in addition to a representative of the Parliamentary health commission in order to follow-up of the food safety issues within the framework of a clear mechanisms.  The task of the committee would be to identify risks in consumption goods and which affect consumers' health and how to assess and address these risks. The committee will seek to have a comprehensive coordination in the responsibilities of relevant ministries rather than a situation of tension and mutual accusations amongst ministers.
Abu Faoor noted that what happened with the case of Labneh unveiled the risks borne by consumers in Lebanon.  As such, the duty of the Ministries is to take action until a food safety law is enacted and also find ways to coordinate for the benefit of consumers' safety and the safety of food and medications.  Chehayeb also explained the road map he is following to address the problem of the Labneh production.  He added that the use of natamycin has been referred to the district attorney but without lodging a court case whilst awaiting the results of the investigation.  Should the investigation reveal wrongdoing, then the Ministries will take appropriate legal actions against producers who are undermining the safety of citizens.
Source: Al-Diyar, Al-Mustaqbal 2 April 2014

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