GMOA laments lack of teeth in Food Act

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers’ Association yesterday lamented that Sri Lanka lacked effective and fully-pledged Food Authority Act for the last 33 years.

GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya pointed out that successive governments had failed to focus their attention on ensuring food safety. Numerous kinds of food items with artificial preservatives and flavouring enhancers were being added to the food items sold to the people. As a consequence more and more people, including children were embracing various kinds of no-communicable diseases.

Dr. Padeniya said that the GMOA had prepared some proposals on food safety, including streamlining the Health Ministry’s Food Control Unit as it was ineffective. The FCU did not have proper mechanism to assure food safety, lacked budgetary allocations and manpower to deal with its duties, which had caused more harm than good.

The first proposal that the GMOA would submit to Health Secretary today was to conduct a review of the existing Food Act and establish a Food Authority. The second proposal was to ensure the quality of food sold to the people using natural spices instead of artificial spices available in the market. Due to unhealthy food and beverage habits many non-communicable diseases were beginning to raise their ugly heads, he said.

"The Food Act which is in effect is 33 years old. Sri Lanka needs an effective Food Authority vested with more powers on food safety. At the same time the GMOA wants to bring to the notice of the government the dire need of popularizing natural spices and curtail the consumption of fizzy drinks and fast food which contain artificial preservatives and chemical substances because NCDs are beginning to cause health complications among the people," Dr. Padeniya emphasised.

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