For the first time in Sri Lanka’s exports history, on June 11, a renowned global food scientist began to extensively train Lankan food exporters on the much needed international regulatory compliance rules.
Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka said that processed food has grown to become a key component of Sri Lanka’s overall annual food exports. In 2012, 26% of total food and beverages exports were processed foods, at $ 73.4 Mn. Sri Lanka's overall processed food exports which stood at $ 67.1 Mn in 2010 rose to a strong $ 95 Mn in 2011 added the Minister.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launching ceremony of fist International Food Safety and Compliance Training session by globally renowned Food Scientist Dr. Barbara Rasco, Associate Professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition of the Washington State University for Sri Lanka’s food exporters at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The pioneering session was organised by the Sri Lanka Food Processor’s Association with the support of Minister Bathiudeen’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce in partnership with the Spice Council and VEGA-FEG. The sessions commenced on 11 June will continue up to 21 June.
Dr. Rasco, one of the few professionals in the world simultaneously practicing Food Law and Food Science as a Food Scientist, arrived in the island on Saturday (08 ).
She published the world’s first book (with Dr Bledsoe) on intentional food contamination, considered as a criminal practice in which companies were shown how to deal with food terrorism. She has worked with hundreds of firms - including Starbucks, Coca Cola, Kraft US, Dole, Cargill Inc and American Sea Foods.
“I am happy to help Sri Lanka’s food industry to secure its exports competitiveness. I am also impressed with the level of sophistication of Sri Lanka’s food industry. You are very proactive” said Dr Rasco, who admitted her strong liking for Sri Lankan Jaggery and hot curries, and stressed: “despite the difficulty to get in to new export markets and despite being expensive, your food operators and exporters are doing the right thing by following regulatory compliance.” She further said that Americans are beginning to look for spicy food from Sri Lanka and there will be new opportunities for Sri Lanka’s full bodied spicy food exports in US.
Reps from more than 20 leading firms-including Elephant House and Coca Cola participated in the session.