State Is Responsible for Food Safety
06 June, 2013
State Is Responsible for Food Safety
The state and not the companies bear responsibilities for the limp food safety control that dominated during nine years of pseudo-liberal economic policy in Georgia.
Almost every week, National Food Agency (NFA), an arm of Agriculture Ministry of Georgia, reports of finding and destruction of either hazardous or expired product at Georgian markets and supermarkets as well as at Georgian borders.
According to NFA, 585 businesses were inspected only in the first quarter of 2013 and 109 were fined that
by 81 and 55 exceed the total number of business operators inspected and fined in 2012 respectively. Besides, 562693 kg of liquid and solid food have been destroyed, 228405 outdated eggs withdrawn and 2491 tons of infected potatoes have been returned starting January of 2013 up to date. No statistics like that has been provided during the entire 9 years of ex-power ruling term. However food safety experts believe statistics of expired and dangerous for health product crossing Georgian borders and sold at the trade outlets across the country was just similar if not worse all this time but they were hidden from the consumers’ eye.
“Around 147 children were poisoned so that they needed medical aid in October-November of 2011, has anyone heard of that?” Vakhtang Kobaladze, Senior Program Manager of European Integration Program at Eurasia Partnership Foundation, said.
Experts believe the ex-power that canceled food control in fact by weakening food inspection custom barriers and suspending the food law starting 2005 is fully responsible for that. The number of disbacteriosis sharply increased in Georgia lately that along with improper antibiotic therapy is also caused by food, head of Association of Doctors of Georgia, says adding that consumer should be at least informed of the product quality in sale.
Members of the ex-authority defy that bad quality food facts were hidden. They lay the responsibility burden on companies. As a matter of fact the law on food regulating the food safety and quality control was suspended in 2005 until 2011 so as to give a preferential period to entrepreneurs to reequip their enterprises in line with the standards. Otherwise the bigger part of food producing business might have gone bankrupt - this was the excuse of the ex-powers for neglected food control in the country. Meantime it was at the discretion of companies to decide whether or not to take quality and standard certificates. Only after EU pressure the liberally inclined ex-ruling powers of Georgia reluctantly but addressed to putting Georgian food and sanitary control in line with the EU standards after the latter unfolded prospects of unfettered trade to Georgia in fall of 2008 in the wake of the August war with Russia.
According to Vakhtang Kobaladze, Senior Program Manager of European Integration Program at Eurasia Partnership Foundation, even the most liberal countries do not leave the food control completely at discretion of companies let alone the Europe and the state cannot evade its responsibilities for years of nonchalance in food control policy.
“Of course, companies bear responsibility for the product they produce but the state should control the spheres that the market cannot control,” he told Georgian Journal.
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