Prof. Purwiyatno Hariyadi: Double Burdens of Food Safety in Indonesia

Food Security means that all people at all times have physical & economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate foods, which are produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner, and that people are able to make informed decisions about their food choices. It is irrelevant whenever the quantity and quality of food is unsecure.

World food security conditions are worrying. On 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) reported that about two million people died due to the food insecurity. In the United States, due to the food insecurity five thousand people died, 76 million people fall ill and 325 thousand people had to be hospitalized annually.

The food safety condition of Indonesia is still alarming.  Indonesia National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM – Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan) of Republik reported that every year food safety issues it has caused the deaths of more than 2,500 people and as many as 411 500 people sick. The statement was presented at the scientific oration by one of the Professor Chair holders of IPB (Bogor Agricultural University) on Food Safety, Prof.Dr Purwiyatno Hariyadi, of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology (FATETA-IPB), on Saturday, 29 August 2015, at Dramaga Campus, Bogor. His scientific oration on “Tantangan Ganda Keamanan Pangan di Indonesia: Peranan Rekayasa Proses Pangan (Double Challenges for  Food Safety in Indonesian: The Role of Food Process Engineering)”, Prof. Purwiyatno stated that both domestic and global security challenges.

“Indonesia’s food security situation hasn’t been changed, it is still remain the same as the time when I was admitted into the university around 80s. Food security is management problem. Small and Medium Industries (SMI), particularly the food industries are even more alarming.  Our society is exposed to potentially hazardous food, “he said.

According to BPOM on the year 2001-2013, only 54% out of 1835 (one thousand eight hundred and thirty five) Home Industries (IRT) were registered and received their Perizinan Pangan Industri Rumah Tangga (PIRT – Food Industry Household Licenses)(survey in 2011). In 2012 the figure rose slightly to 59% and in 2013 to 67%. Thus, approximately 33% (a large number) of Home Industry has not been able to perform their food industry standard. The condition is so alarming as SMEs dominate the industrial structure of Indonesian food, 99% of them are small industries, the rest are large industrial.

However, when the IRT products had been selected as good quality products for export, they then were rejected by the targeted countries. There are various reasons for the rejection of products from Indonesia. Data in 2011-2014 shows that the USA records 1,451 (one thousand four hundred and fifty one rejections. The large refusal cases of the Indonesian products by USA are due to the fact that the United States is the largest trade partners of Indonesia.

“Thirty six percent (36%) of the rejections were due to the filth such as hair, insect legs, metal, glasses, and plastic pieces, whereas thirty percent (30%) were due to  because of salmonella. The European Union do not reject as much as the USA, it was about sixty four (64) cases. The reason, because European Union  is not Indonesian great partner. In European Union, our products were rejected due to micro toxins (mold, mildew). This is interesting as the USA and European Union are tightening their food safety standards, “he said.

Accordingly, Indonesia has suffered the Double Burdens of Food Safety, namely the domestic as well as global food safety burdens. They have becomes the economy and public health burdens.

The first challenge will be, many of our SMEs do not have clean water facilities and their ingredients are not safe, so that the industry was forced to use materials that should not be used, but it is also human resources issues. Although these constraints may differ across sectors and regions, there are a number of common problems, including the lack of capital, human resources, technology and information; difficulties in procuring raw materials; weak marketing and distribution capacity; high transportation costs; cumbersome and costly bureaucratic procedures (particularly in obtaining licenses to operate); and policies and regulations that generate market distortions. All these are often referred to as external constraints to the growth of SMEs.

The second challenge, following the recurrence of serious events of food contamination across the globe, food safety has become a matter of ever increasing international concern and the World Health Organization has defined foodborne diseases as a global public health challenge. Moreover, the need to comply with the stringent  international standards of food safety, and issue of “chasing zero”. Another challenge is related to food adulteration, means an addition of another substance to a food item in order to increase the quantity of the food item in raw form or prepared form, which may result in the loss of actual quality of food item.

The dual challenges need to be responded by improvements of the national food safety system. Indonesia has a great moment with the Food Act No. 18/2012 About Food, namely the need to set up government institutions that handle the food sector which is under and responsible to the President. This institution should be used as the moment to reform of national food safety system including the possibility of the National Food Safety Authority. In addition, food process engineering also have an important role to provide solutions to the twin challenges of food security.

Lastly, anyone who are engaged in food, either as researchers, industry, and regulators actually they have noble and strategic mission. They have to ensure the safety and the quality performances of their foods, which will affect the improvement of the health of the community for the improvement of their productivities.  (Wied)

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