FTI leads move to self-assess
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is joining hands with health officials to have factories assess their food processing standards under "self-declaration" in a bid to relieve people's fear of Covid-19 contamination in food products.
The move, led by FTI, comes after the ongoing disease outbreak in Samut Sakhon raised concerns about food safety as the province is home to various industries, including food processing factories.
FTI and the Public Health Ministry agree to have manufacturers follow a hygienic checklist to check and declare whether their food production meets safety standards, which include proper hygiene among workers and measures against Covid-19.
Factories which pass the assessment will be certified by FTI and health officials who will give them an Industry and Production Hygiene Administration certificate, a so-called "IPHA trademark."
Factories that have never been granted any industry standard certification from the government are required to attend training on food production hygiene and will take longer than their peers to get the IPHA, said FTI.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said his ministry supports the business sector to build confidence among food buyers through IPHA.
"Thailand is a world kitchen exporting food products to many countries and Samut Sakhon is the country's major food production base," he said.
Samut Sakhon has a total of 6,082 factories, with up to 345,284 workers. Among them are 233,071 migrant workers. According to FTI, 334 factories mostly in the food processing industry are FTI members.
FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree believes the self-declaration idea will be a good start to alleviate fears of contaminated food during the pandemic.
"Customers in Thai and overseas markets are concerned about food products from Samut Sakhon. Many Thais fear eating food from the province while foreign countries which import Thai food products keep asking about food safety issues," he said.
The IPHA standard will initially be applied to factories in Samut Sakhon and then expand to other provinces.