MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS QUALITY AND SAFETY, ENSURED WITH EU SUPPORT
Over 180 stakeholders of the milk sector – food safety inspectors and milk producers – gathered today in a conference to discuss and share best practices in ensuring high quality of milk and dairy products in the Republic of Moldova. The event, organized by the EU High Level Advisers’ Mission in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania and Food Safety Agencies of the Republic of Moldova and the Republic of Lithuania, was designed to strengthen administrative and institutional capacities of authorities responsible for policy making and its implementation in sectors related to food quality and safety requirements, as well as in dealing with food frauds.EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Peter Michalko, mentioned during the event: ‘The main guiding principle in the EU policy on food safety is to provide safe, nutritious, high quality and affordable food to its consumers. It covers all stages of the EU food supply chain, "from farm to fork". In order to help achieve this in the Republic of Moldova, the EU is providing a wide range of assistance for the country to deal with challenges not only in sanitary and phytosanitary rules but also in DCFTA, good governance and rule of law area.’ In his turn, Director of National Food Safety Agency, Gheorghe Gaberi, expressed his appreciation for the continuous support of the European Union to the institution in its reform process: ‘By ensuring high quality standards throughout the whole food chain, Moldovan products will become more competitive on external markets.’ Heads of all regional Food Safety Departments from the National Food Safety Agency, as well as representatives from the main national milk producers and processors took part in the event, allowing for a direct dialogue between the parties responsible for ensuring quality and safety of milk and dairy products. Moldovan speakers made a presentation of the current situation in the milk sector, emphasizing the problems faced by both competent authorities and business operators, as well as the real solutions to strengthen the sector. Lithuanian experts shared from the experience of their country in fields related to official and self-controls in farms and processing units, and main tools in fighting against frauds in milk sector. According to Zenonas Stanevicius, EU High Level Adviser on Food Safety, milk sector is facing certain risk factors, as biological, chemical, physical and even human factors, and the main challenge is to find common solutions in controlling them: ‘The main goal is to provide final consumers with reliable information related to the safety and quality of milk and dairy products. Responsible for safety issues is always the food operator, and the competent authority will check the compliance with the requirements defined for this specific sector.’ National Milk Producers Associations, present at the event, shared their views on issues in milk processing chain, but also shared experience in the self-control systems they have in place. By the end of the conference, participants agreed that, having the possibility to share views, with joint efforts, milk and dairy products quality and safety in the Republic of Moldova will be ensured based on best European practices.