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The Burmese Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed a plan to re-draft the 1997 National Food Law (NFL), bringing it up to date.
The 1997 law, adopted by the State Law and Order Restoration Council in 1997, will be re-written to ensure better safety and quality control of food, drugs and cosmetic products as it is outdated and irrelevant in its current form, according to Dr Myint Han, the FDA director-general.
“We are planning to re-draft the NFL in February. We expect more systematic procedures for safety and quality control from the new law,” he said.
Ba Oak Khine, the FDA’s chairperson, said the current NFL is flawed, pointing out that it is difficult to pursue legal action against food and drug manufactures who ignore safety standards because there are no bylaws under the Consumer Protection Law, approved last year.
“According to Article 34 of the 1997 NFL, one must seek permission from the Ministry of Health in order to seek legal action [against manufacturers who violate safety standards]. There was a motion in parliament to abolish this article, but to no avail,” said Ba Oak Khine.
“It is also impossible to sue these companies under the new Consumer Protection Law as bylaws are yet to be made public. We are urging the concerned government bodies to swiftly introduce the bylaws.”
Since last year, the FDA has been inspecting food and drugs sold at markets in administrative regions across Burma for the use of prohibited chemical dyes. Health authorities have warned that those parties found to be using such materials will face legal consequences.