The 23 government officials, academics, non-government organization representatives and private sector stakeholders from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) who attended the Regional Training Program on Raising Public Awareness on Safe Food Consumption held from August 22-26, 2022 at the Mekong Institute Training Centre in Khon Kaen, Thailand, have adopted the framework for social and behavior change communication (SBCC) acquired during the course to develop awareness-raising campaign plans.
The campaign plans are expected to contribute to building a food safety culture in the region by ensuring that basic, scientific and technical information on safe food consumption is available and accessible to the public, thus increasing the awareness and understanding about the potential risks and hazards associated with food preparation and hygiene.
Highlighting the learning objectives of the course, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of Mekong Institute (MI), encouraged the participants in his opening remarks to be food safety champions, not only in their own family but also for the Mekong family. “Promoting safe food is a shared responsibility which contributes to the greater goal of achieving sustainable food systems in the region,” he stressed.
Four modules were delivered by a team comprising a food safety specialist and communication experts, leading to the development of campaign plans. Participants developed plans designed to raise awareness on proper food preparation and hygiene practices, use of chemicals in food production and the importance of food labeling.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, talked about the importance of ensuring that information on safe food consumption is not only available but also accessible to the public, saying “providing the public with a deeper understanding of actual and potential food hazards engages food businesses to supply us with high-quality and safe food.”
This five-day regional training program was organized under the project Promoting Safe Food for Everyone (PROSAFE) which is being supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme to strengthen food safety capabilities of agri-food supply chain stakeholders in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.