Food standards and inspection systems to be improved
By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, November 3A project initiated by the European Union for Strengthening Metrology and Standardization According to the Best EU Practices was presented at the Hotel Ambassador on November 2. Lali Gogoberidze, Head of the Economic Analysis and Policy Department of the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, stated that the two-year project financed by the EU aims at making Georgian products closer to European standards.
Gogoberidze explained that Georgia has a preferential regime with the EU member countries, but it uses a non-tariff policy thus the specialists from Germany and the Latvian Institute of Metrology and Standard would help Georgia to improve the quality of its products.
Meanwhile the Georgian Parliament plans new legislative changes for examining food producing companies. The changes would award accredited private inspection bodies similar rights as the National Food Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. Vakhtang Kobaladze from the Eurasia Partnership Foundation thinks that it would be difficult to create such private inspection agencies because of the lack of experienced staff. “The National Food Agency used to worry about the lack of personnel in this field, so how will new personnel be found in future?” Kobaladze asked, adding that private entrepreneurs would have to cover the expenses of inspection, thus raising the costs.
Former MP and the author of various legislative initiatives in food safety issues Zurab Tskitishvili welcomed the initiative, confident that private inspection would be more objective and free of corruption. “According to the situation we are facing in Georgia, today it is important to install internal safety systems for industry. The new initiative avoids the necessity of such additional mechanisms,” Tskitishvili said. He said that the state would still assume the responsibility for carrying out sudden inspections, while in all other cases the companies would be informed of planned inspections a month earlier, and the process would follow a previously established list. The expert in food also explained that the project would ensure maximal transparency and objectivity and make Georgian legislation closer to European standards.