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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 113

Rishad, top Washington scientist start Lanka’s first Food Compliance

Colombo, 19 June, (Asiantribune.com):

For the first time in Sri Lanka’s exports history, a renowned global food scientist began on 11 June to extensively train Lankan food exporters on the much needed international regulatory compliance rules. And processed food has grown to become a key component of Sri Lanka’s overall annual food exports.

“In 2012, 26% of total food and beverages exports were processed foods, at $ 73.4 Mn. Our overall processed food exports which stood at $ 67.1 Mn in 2010 rose to a strong $ 95 Mn in 2011” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 11 June in Colombo.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of fist International Food Safety and Compliance Training session by globally renowned Food Scientist Dr. Barbara Rasco, Associate Professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition of the Washington State University on 11 June at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for Sri Lanka’s food exporters. The pioneering session was organised by the Sri Lanka Food Processor’s Association with the support of Minister Bathiudeen’s Industry and Commerce in partnership with the Spice Council and VEGA-FEG. The sessions continue from 11 June to 21 June in Colombo.

Dr. Rasco, one of the few professionals in the world simultaneously practicing Food Law and Food Science as a Food Scientist, arrived in the island on Saturday 08 June. Dr Rasco who successfully collaborated on 200 published scientific papers on Food Science, will lead the Training and Training of Trainers Programme on Food Safety Modernisation Act of USA starting tomorrow 11 June at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

She published the world’s first a book (with Dr Bledsoe) on intentional food contamination, considered as a criminal practice in which companies were shown how to deal with food terrorism. She has worked with hundreds of firms -including Starbucks, Coca Cola, Kraft US, Dole, Cargill Inc and American Sea Foods.

• ‘More Americans looking for Lankan spiced food’ –Dr Rasco

• First ever Int’l Food Training starts in Colombo

• Lanka’s 2012 food exports at $ 73 Mn

• ‘Urgent need of our food exporters fulfilled’ - Rishad

“Dr Rasco is a great contributor to global food science specially in the integration of the legal, and technical aspects and trying to come up with practices for the global industry to make the overall value chain of food, much safer. These types of awareness sessions are an urgent need which is being fulfilled today -specially considering that in 2012, 26% of total food, and beverages exports were processed foods totalling to $ 73.4 Mn. Our processed food exports which stood at $ 67.1 Mn, in 2010 strongly increased to $ 94.84 Mn in 2011.

In 2012, it stood at $ 73.4 Mn. The slight decline is a result of the on-going, global market turmoil” said Minister Bathiudeen and added :”My Ministry has been extending considerable support to build Sri Lanka’s food processing sector. We allocated $ 197000 with Sri Lanka Food Processors Association for this initiative.

The other key initiative is the annual Pro-Food Pro Pack exhibition. I am pleased to say, that the 11th exhibition in this series will be held in August at BMICH.”

“Dr Rasco’s main contribution to Food Sciences is the integration of the legal and technical aspects and trying to come up with rational practices for the global industry to make the overall value chain of food, safer. These types of awareness sessions are an urgent need, specially considering that 26% of our Food and Beverage exports consist of Processed Foods as we face global export turmoil” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Miister of Industry and Commerce, commenting on Dr Rasco’s initiatives in Sri Lanka. “This is an export sector with strong potential and we need this types of initiatives to sustain our competitive edge” he stressed.

“I am happy to help Sri Lanka’s food industry to secure its exports competitiveness. I am also impressed with the level of sophistication of Sri Lanka’s food industry. You are very proactive” said Dr Rasco, who admitted her strong liking for Sri Lankan Jaggery and hot curries, and stressed: “Despite the difficulty to get in to new export markets and despite being expensive, your food operators and exporters are doing the right thing by following regulatory compliance.” Dr Rasco, who has extensive working background in 30 countries-mostly in Central, South and South East Asia added: “Americans are beginning to look for spicy food from Sri Lanka. I see new opportunities for Sri Lanka’s full bodied spicy food exports in US.”

“Reps from more than 20 leading firms-including Elephant House and Coca Cola- will be taking part in this session which will continue till 21 June” said Ivan Peiris, Administrative Secretary of Sri Lanka Food Processors Association. “This is the first time that such an extensive programme of this nature is taking place in Sri Lanka” Peiris added.

- Asian Tribune -

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce-far right) and Dr. Barbara Rasco (Associate Professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition of the Washingto State University- far left) interact with reps of institutions supporting the first Food Compliance Programme, on 11 June in Colombo.
Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce) initiates Dr. Barbara Rasco (Associate Professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition of the Washingto State University- at right) to Sri Lankan refreshments palette on 11 June in Colombo.
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