Officials Vow Food Safety for Summits’ Guests


Health officials have intensified inspections to ensure hygienic foods are served to thousands of delegates and media personnel planning to attend the ASEAN Summit and its related summits to be held in Vientiane early next month.Director of the Vientiane Health Department, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom said yesterday that at the end of this month the health officials plan to award food-safety certificates to restaurants whose practices meet food-safety criteria.

Those failing to meet the criteria we set will not be given the certificates, he told the Vientiane Times .

Recently, officials met with operators of hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, drinking water and ice factories to discuss and demand them to pay special attention in their operations to meet the hygienic standard.

The department is in charge of inspection work to ensure food safety in three-star hotels and lower including restaurants while the Ministry of Health is in charge of the inspections in four-and-five-star hotels.

District health officials are in charge of inspecting food safety in street food vendors, Dr Phonepaseuth said.

Initially, Lao officials estimated that more than 5,000 leaders, official delegates, and business leaders, of whom 600 are foreign media personnel, will attend and cover the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related meetings to be held back-to-back in Vientiane.

The director stated that health officials are increasing their inspection routines adding to their regular inspection, especially in the four main districts in the city centre in a move to ensure the foods meet hygienic standards.

In addition, health officials are also intensifying their inspections in local markets to make sure that there is no food or ingredients contaminated with unsafe substances sold.

The Director of the Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department Dr Linkham Douangsavanh said his officials have also carried out similar inspections in local markets to prevent contaminated foods from being sold.

We have paid special attention to the inspections these days, he said, adding that veterinarians are stationed at slaughtering houses to check the hygiene of meats.

In addition, officials in charge of plant and animal quarantine have put greater attention on checking imported foods to prevent unsafe or contaminated foods from entering the country, Dr Linkham said.

Foreign leaders reported to have confirmed their attendance to the summits in Laos so far are US President Barack Obama, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and President of Republic of Korea Park Geun-hye.

Asean leaders will meet at their summit as well as meeting their dialogues partners in related summits.

The East Asia Summit, whose 18 members include Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Russia, will also be convened.

Source: Vientiane Times