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President Muizzu ratifies food safety bill

Malika Shahid
24 May 2024, MVT 13:08
A person works in a farm in a local island: The food safety bill has been ratified on Thursday
Malika Shahid
24 May 2024, MVT 13:08

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu ratified the Food Safety Bill on Thursday, granting the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) the authority to conduct testing on food imported into the country.

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.

The bill was passed during the last sitting of the 19th Parliament, on May 13.

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

It determines standards for food production, import and export, preparation to ensure the health and safety aspects of food items.

The bill will come into effect within three months from the date of ratification. Fines for violation once the bill comes into effect could range from MVR 10,000 to MVR 75,000 depending on the level of severity.

In a press conference held at the Ministry of Health, Minister Dr. Abdulla Khaleel stated that following the ratification of the bill, all food items imported into the Maldives will undergo testing. Only those food products deemed safe through will then be permitted for import.

Currently food testing in the country is carried out at random. However testing will become mandatory before importing once the law comes into effect.

Minister Khaleel said that although various chemicals are used in local farming, Maldives currently has limited options available for testing produce. As such, discussions are ongoing to send samples of locally grown produce abroad for testing, Minister Khaleel said.