In celebration of the first World Food Safety Day on June 7, Mekong Institute opened its Regional Training Program on Raising Public Awareness for Safe Food Consumption on June 3 at the MI Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Twenty-eight participants representing national agencies and academic institutions from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) are attending the five-day safe food course.
Organized as part of New Zealand Aid Programme-funded project on Promoting Safe Food for Everyone (PROSAFE), the course was designed to strengthen the capacity of local governments and universities to develop and implement practical strategies to raise consumer awareness on the benefits of consuming safe food. The training hopes to build the knowledge and skills of participants in designing food safety campaigns in their respective countries.
Speaking at the opening remarks, Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, emphasized the importance of raising consumer awareness on food safety. She related that strong market demand for safe food may help push farmers, agro-processors, and government regulators to ensure the production of safe fruits and vegetables. Ms. Medialdia also reminded that the participants will play a key role in promoting food safety in the region, especially after the course. She explained, “after enhancing your knowledge and building your skills through this course, you [participants] have the responsibility and opportunity to change the mindset of consumers in your respective countries and make food safety as one of the most important consideration in buying food.”
Sessions for this course will be delivered by experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, including Dr. Masami Takeuchi, Dr. Domingo Caro, and Mr. Eric Newton. The course will also feature structured learning visits to GAP-certified farms, packinghouses, and fresh produce markets in Khon Kaen.