South East Asia moves to gain control of food safety issues

October 13, 2004, as reported by Continuing outbreaks of bird flu have kept South East Asia at the forefront of food safety discussions but the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) hopes to change that. At a recent meeting in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar), ASEAN ministers set up a taskforce to coordinate member countries’ fight against bird flu and a trust find to keep the region free of foot-and-mouth disease in efforts to make it one of the world’s most proactive regional organizations in the food sector.

They also approved an additional 86 maximum residue limits for eight pesticides used on vegetables, fruits, and cash crops. And they agreed that ASEAN agencies should develop a blueprint for helping rice producers deal with water scarcity, global warming and labour shortages.