Sri Lanka’s first-ever food certification firm took off on 28 March with the signing of MoU between Ind-Expo Certification Ltd. and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).The $ 1.33 m initiative was inaugurated by Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen at Taj Samudra Hotel Colombo on Wednesday.
Ind-Expo Certification is the non-profit private firm specially formed for food certification in the country. The first-ever such venture in Sri Lanka, Ind-Expo will supervise local food quality using standards administered by the Chartered Institute of Environment Health (CIEH) of UK. The UNIDO Colombo office’s venture is under the auspices of Ministry of Industry and Commerce with $ 1.33 m funding from the Norwegian Government through UNIDO.
Minister Bathiudeen and Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hilde Haraldstad witnessed the MoU signing between Ind-Expo Certification and SLTDA, joined by Dr. Taizo Nishikawa, the Deputy to the Director-General of UNIDO. Dr. Nishikawa has served as the Deputy Director-General Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, METI, since November 2005.
“We are thankful to the Norwegian Government for their support to uplift our standards” said Minister Bathiudeen on 26 March in Colombo speaking to the officials of his Ministry. “The non-profit firm is a collaborative effort between Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) and the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) supported by UNIDO under my Ministry’s auspices,” he added. The Norwegian funded UNIDO facilitated project aims to promote food safety within the chain of tourist hotels in Sri Lanka, and the non-profit firm Ind-Expo Certification, jointly with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), will implement the food safety inspection and grading system to assure food safety to the customers.
Ind-Expo Certification is a non-profit, public certification and training organisation established by the CNCI and NCE of Sri Lanka as its partners. It is supported by the UNIDO under its project ‘Strengthening the International Certification Capacity in Sri Lanka’ (Integrated Industrial Development Support Program Phase 11) with the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Ind-Expo also operates a ‘Crowns Scheme for Food Hygiene,’ where food outlets, restaurants and hotels are assessed for hygienic conditions and awards crowns depending on their hygienic conditions. The aim of this program is to safeguard the local consumers and also to facilitate the export market. This program has been developed on par with similar programs in operation in developed countries and first implementation was in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) area with the support of the Health Department of the CMC. This will be extended to the Kotte Municipal and Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia Municipal Council areas in the near future.