Improving food safety in Bangladesh

Workshop for the validation of guidelines for implementation of food safety in the fish value chain


The FAO Food Safety Programme is collaborating with the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation and the Department of Fisheries (DoF) to develop food safety guidelines for implementation across the fish value chain. The guidelines have been used to deliver training programmes in Good Agriculture Practices to 30 Master Trainers, 100 Lead Trainers, 500 Lead Farmers and more than 200 Value Chain actors. The training has been certified by an accredited UK-based agency. These guidelines have since been converted into 10 operational controls at key points in the value chain including the hatchery, the nursery, pond preparation, inputs, harvest, post-harvest, transport, storage, wholesale and retail. The implementation of these guidelines at the upazila level have monitored by DoF officials through the use of tablet PCs and by farmers through record books. Lessons learnt from the monitoring data were then used to upgrade the guidelines.

The final draft of the guidelines was discussed in a validation workshop organized in the DoF conference room. 30 participants including scientists, farmers, DoF officials and representatives from the private sector participated in the deliberations chaired by Dr. Syed Arif Azad, Director General, DoF. The Chief Guest on the occasion was Mr. Anisur Rahman, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Mr. Md. Golam Mustafa, Senior Vice President, Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters’ Association was the special guest.

At the outset, Dr. Azad outlined the importance of having the guidelines approved and adopted by the MoFL and the necessity to ensure that they were in alignment with current lawas and regulations. Dr. Mahmudul Karim, Director, BSFF presented the guidelines in detail. He outlined the challenges and important food safety hazards and the mitigating measures at each step of the value chain. The presentations were followed by feedback from the participants.  The participants contributed several comments and modifications to the document and agreed that the guidelines would be a useful resource for implementing food safety. The Chief Guest also reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to carry forward and scale up the implementation of these. The Officer-in-Charge of the Food Safety Programme, Sridhar Dharmapuri, described the rationale behind the development of the guidelines, the progress and key achievements. He also thanked DoF and BSFF for their leadership and assistance in the implementation of the activities. The guidelines will now undergo a final round of editing and sent for endorsement of DoF.