BEIRUT, 26 February 2015 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will further assist Lebanon in food safety matters. A new UNIDO project on this was presented during the Arab Forum for Food Safety and Quality that ended in Beirut today.
The two-day event was organized by the Arab Union of Chambers of Commerce and the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade. It brought together food industry leaders and lawmakers from across the Arab world. They exchanged knowledge and discussed safety standards.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Tammam Salam, as well as the ministers of Industry, Public Health, Economy and Trade, Environment, and Agriculture.
“Citizens’ food is in a better state today and is subject to stronger monitoring standards, thanks to the work of the Ministry of Public Health in bringing food safety to the attention of the nation,” said Prime Minister Salam during the opening ceremony.
UNIDO has been supporting Lebanon in the area of food safety since 2001, said Bassel Alkhatib, UNIDO Industrial Development Officer. He added that the poor state of food safety in the country remained high on the Government’s agenda. “UNIDO has conducted assessments of food sectors in the country, developed a country-wide awareness-raising campaign launched in collaboration with the Government, and provided intensive food safety training. We look forward to further support Lebanon’s efforts towards food safety,” said Alkhatib.
Ali Berro, director of the QUALEB Quality Programme of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, added that “Awareness raising efforts and food safety training provided to ministries and municipalities have improved attention to food quality in the country”.
The Minister of Public Health, Wael Abou Faour, announced that a new law on food safety, initiated by UNIDO in 2006, will soon be approved by Parliament. Several speakers commended Lebanon’s progress on improving food safety standards, and elaborated on how the country can benefit from the example of fellow Arab nations.
“Lebanon could look to the Gulf countries for best practices on food hygiene, which have advanced food safety regulation,” said Haitham al-Jaffan, president of the Arab Federation for Food Industries. “The best examples of hygiene standards in the area are Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” added Mohammad Choucair, president of the Lebanese Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.
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UNIDO Industrial Development Officer