Malaysia is the latest member to join the ASEAN Food Safety Network (AFSN), which is an organization aimed at protecting and improving food safety across Southeast Asia. The AFSN is established under the ASEAN Food and Veterinary Drug Regulatory Forum, and it enables ASEAN nations to coordinate their efforts in ensuring that food produced and traded across the region is safe for consumption.
With the inclusion of Malaysia into the AFSN, the country will be able to benefit from the expertise of other members of this regional network, as well as exchange best practices in food safety regulation. This will help ensure that food products imported from other states are safe for both domestic as well as international consumers. In addition, with members from all over Southeast Asia becoming a part of this network, Malaysia will also get access to research on various types of new food safety technologies being pioneered in the region.
The Malaysian government has voiced its strong commitment to joining the AFSN. According to Malaysian Deputy Agriculture Minister Dr Shuhaiza Shafiei, Malaysia wants to be at the forefront of food safety innovation within the region. He further noted that Malaysian authorities are currently focused on introducing modern policies that help strengthen the country’s efforts in creating safer food environments. These policies will be further developed under the guidance of international standards established by the AFSN and other related organizations.
Overall, with Malaysia’s inclusion in AFSN, consumers can now have better access to safe and quality products from all over Southeast Asia. The improved exchange of data, information and best practices across member states should also lead to a more effective implementation of food safety standards. Ultimately, both businesses and consumers alike will benefit from this cooperation amongst ASEAN nations.
The ASEAN Food Safety Network in Malaysia is a unique effort to ensure that food safety standards are up to par throughout the bloc of Southeast Asian countries. The ASEAN Food Safety Network was established in 2005 and is aimed at promoting food safety, strengthening regional collaboration and capacity building among member states. Malaysia, being among the founding members, has seen fit to make a serious commitment to the network, having hosted the second annual meeting of the network in 2009.
Since its inception, the network has made tremendous strides towards achieving its mission. Having established a common platform for ten-member countries to learn from each other, share their experiences and progress in the sector, and provide technical assistance where needed. Through this platform, each state has been able to foster mutual cooperation and understanding with regards to food safety guidelines.
Malaysia has taken an active role in ensuring that its population receives safe and wholesome foods through legislative efforts and technological applications. In 2012, the Malaysian government signed into law the Food Safety Act 2012 which provides penalty and enforcement measures for those found to be in violation of food safety guidelines. This has helped ensure that Malaysia becomes one of the safest countries in the ASEAN region when it comes to food safety standards.
Malaysia has also taken a proactive approach towards improving food safety by utilizing resources such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). GFSI was created to offer accreditation standards that cover all aspects of industry’s activities from farm practices to logistics chains. Through GFSI, Malaysia is able to leverage on mutual recognition with foreign markets such as China or Europe regarding food safety standards and certification.
Additionally, technical assistance programs have been rolled out such as ‘Train-the-Trainer’ seminars which help participants gain international quality management systems knowledge that is essential for managing and ensuring food safety protocols. There have also been initiatives taken by various states and private organizations with regard to the implementation of technological advancements such as traceability systems, quality control and production optimization systems which can help bridge gaps between producers and consumers for greater transparency.
Ultimately, these concerted efforts by Malaysia towards enhanced food safety as part of its commitment with the ASEAN Food Safety Network gives citizens of this nation an assurance that they are served safe foods while they enjoy dishes from all over ASEAN!