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Parliament passes Food Safety Bill after three years

Food safety regulations and standards are outlined in the newly passed Food Safety Bill.

Ameera Osmanagic
14 May 2024, MVT 07:46
Food items in a local shop -- Photo: Mihaaru
Ameera Osmanagic
14 May 2024, MVT 07:46

The Parliament of Maldives, after three years since the initial introduction, has passed the Food Safety Bill into law on Monday.

The bill was first put forward to the parliament during former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration in 2021 and was studied at committee level by the parliament's Committee of Social Affairs for three years, making it the longest studied bill of the 19th Parliament.

It was finally passed today during the last sitting of the 19th Parliament, which former ruling party Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) held majority of.

The bill primarily outlines food safety standards and regulations concerning food imported to and exported from the Maldives.

As such, it determines standards for food production, import and export, preparation, packaging, labelling, storing and transportation in the country. It also includes the formulation of a legal framework to determine the policies and standards to be adhered to ensure the health and safety aspects of food in production, storage, and handling in places of sale.

Once the bill comes into effect, relevant authorities will also be required to set regulations pertaining to search and seizure for the purpose of testing, ordering recalls and bans on sale of food items found to be handled against regulations.

It also dictates that parties manufacturing and selling food will be required to be registered and meet certain requirements. Additionally, it includes regulations on searching food service providers as well as on actions to be taken against parties to fail to meet cleanliness and safety standards.

The Bill also was amended at the committee stage increasing fines for violation once the bill comes into effect. According to the amendment, fines could range from MVR 10,000 to MVR 75,000 depending on the level of severity.

The bill now awaits ratification from the President before being gazetted and implemented as law.

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