Malaysia has much to gain from food traceability, according to Britain-based Global Food Traceability Forum (GFTF) chairman Ian Smith.
“Initialising food traceability would definitely improve the standard of living in Malaysia,” he told reporters via a conference call from Halifax, England, on Monday.
Smith said practising food traceability could leverage Malaysia as an exporter, especially in halal products.
Another driving force is that consumers are becoming more discerning, Smith said.
“People are becoming more concerned about their food. They want to know what they are eating is safe,” he said, adding that Malaysia was ahead of neighbouring countries as far as incorporating food traceability was concerned.
“Malaysia’s efforts in launching the Malaysian Food Information and Traceability System last year are applauded. It shows that the Government recognises this problem and is doing something about it.”
Food traceability refers to the ability to trace and follow food, feed and ingredients through all stages of production, processing and distribution.
Food traceability is mandatory by law in the European Union (EU) since 2005. Smith said incidents such as mad cow disease were among the incidents that drove the EU to implement the law.
“With the implementation of food traceability, incidents like that or the recall of products which could cost manufacturers huge losses, can be avoided,” he said.
Smith is also the organising committee chairman for the GFTF, which will be held on April 1 and 2 at the Sunway Resort Hotel in Petaling Jaya.
The two-day forum will feature speakers comprising leading food traceability experts and industry figures, primarily from Europe and Asia.
“We are not just going to bring down speakers. We want to hear and speak to the audience too,” Smith said.
“We will be gathering feedback from our guests and will relate the issues back to the EU to seek ways to improve conditions.”
CYBERJAYA: By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
(Courtesy: The Star)