27 March 2019, Thimphu: One day consultative meeting on Risk-based Inspection and Sampling Procedure Manuals was held at Chuniding Resort. Twenty officials from BAFRA Head Office, BAFRA entry points offices, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan, Regional Revenue and Customs Office, Phuntsholing and Department of Revenue and Customs attended the meeting.
The objective of the meeting was to receive feedback and inputs on the draft documents to ensure that they were practical and implementable in Bhutan. The meeting discussed draft documents on policy framework for imported food, risk-based inspection approach, inspection procedure and sampling techniques.
The meeting also discussed measures to ensure imported food did not have excessive levels of toxic agricultural pesticides or veterinary drug residues and microbiological contaminations that may cause food borne illness.
The consultant, Mr Peter Liehne said that the program was directed at practical improvements to managing the quality and safety of food imported into Bhutan. The aim was to strengthen border controls with improved risk and evidence-based inspection programs.
The consultant noted that Bhutan had made significant progress with the development of food standards and operational requirements for domestic food management and for importation of food. These frameworks provided strong bedrock for improved management of both food safety in Bhutan and for imported food.
The meeting concluded with the emphasis on the need for BAFRA and the Department of Revenue and Customs to work closely with importers and their supplier to ensure the import of safe and suitable food into the country.
The meeting was addressed by the Director General of BAFRA, Mr. Namgay Wangchuk who endorsed the broad framework and emphasised the need for practical approaches that strengthened existing procedures and built capacity for continual improvements in the management of imported food.
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