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Oman takes steps to ramp up food safety

Central food lab to ensure quality and safety to be set up

Gulf News

Muscat: The Omani government has approved the establishment of a national food safety body with the principal mandate to oversee quality and standards across all aspects of the country’s burgeoning food supplies and services industry.

The green light came in a statement issued by the Council of Ministers at the weekend, detailing a number of key decisions taken by the cabinet in recent months on matters of national concern.

According to Oman News Agency (ONA), the Food Quality & Safety Centre will be set up under the auspices of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, which already oversees the country’s central laboratories complex. The decision to set up the Food Quality & Safety Centre forms the centrepiece of a raft of measures adopted by the Council to ramp up the country’s food safety monitoring and audit capabilities. It also approved the establishment of a Central Referral Laboratory for the testing of imported and locally produced foodstuff.

In this regard, the Council also urged the private sector to set up similar laboratories to help supplement the Sultanate’s food safety monitoring capabilities. Additionally, the Council pledged steps to revise and modernise auditing and monitoring systems in the field of quality and safety of foodstuff and medicines. Significantly, issues to do with food and consumer safety have, of late, been receiving priority attention by the government, with the country’s elected Shura Council especially pressing for tougher food safety laws and regulations. In fact, the latest measures announced by the Council of Ministers stemmed from proposals and studies initiated by the Shura Council, the ONA report added.