NFC to check, certify food quality

January 31, 2018

The Himalayan Times, 31 Jan 2018 

The state-owned Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) is preparing to start testing the quality of food items in the market soon.

Along with the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC), NFC also plans to acquire government authority to regulate and control the quality of foods in a bid to ensure and enhance the quality and safety of foods available in the market.

Moreover, NFC has already set up a separate building at its central office in Bhadrakali, with support from the Indian Embassy in Nepal, to instal an international standard lab.

“The Indian Embassy handed over the building to NFC a few months back and the corporation has already imported all the necessary laboratory equipment,” informed Shankar Sapkota, spokesperson for NFC, adding that the corporation will begin testing the quality standards of foods as soon as the laboratory is installed.

According to Sapkota, NFC will soon seek authority from the government to certify the quality of food products in the country.

Currently, DoFTQC is the only government body authorised to certify quality of food products.

Sapkota informed that NFC had felt the need to start testing quality of foods and certify their quality in the backdrop of deteriorating quality of food products sold in the domestic market, which has been posing a threat to human health.

“Once there are two bodies to check and certify quality of products, we expect that quality and safety issues regarding food will be addressed in a more effective manner,” he added.

Primarily, NFC plans to monitor the quality of different food items, including rice, lentils, grains, oil, ghee and meat items, among others.

Meanwhile, officials of DoFTQC have said that NFC’s initiative to check the quality standards of food will assist the department and help control the quality standards of food in the country.

“NFC’s plan is basically to control and regulate the quality of food items like rice, lentils and grains, among others that NFC is currently involved in trading. Its plan will certainly help DoFTQC to maintain the quality standards in food products,” said Purna Chandra Osti, spokesperson for DoFTQC.

Meanwhile, consumer activists have said that the aggressive intervention of the government in the market is necessary to control the quality of foods in the market.

“Today, almost every food product has some quality defect. The government should not only introduce plans and policies to maintain quality standards, but should also enforce them properly to generate tangible results,” said Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumers’ Right Investigation Forum.