Maldives Parliament Passes Landmark Food Safety Bill

After three years of deliberation, the Maldivian Parliament passed a landmark Food Safety Bill into law on Monday. This legislation, initially introduced in 2021 under former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration, underwent extensive scrutiny by the parliament’s Committee of Social Affairs, making it the most meticulously studied bill of the 19th Parliament.

The bill was passed during the final session of the 19th Parliament, where the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) held a majority. It aims to establish comprehensive food safety standards and regulations governing both imported and exported food items. Key provisions include guidelines for food production, import and export procedures, preparation, packaging, labelling, storage, and transportation within the country.

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This legislation is poised to revolutionise the Maldivian food industry by creating a robust legal framework that prioritises the health and safety of consumers. It empowers relevant authorities to formulate policies and standards, conduct inspections, and enforce regulations to ensure food safety throughout the supply chain.

Under the new law, businesses engaged in food manufacturing and sales will be required to register and adhere to stringent requirements. Food service providers will also be subject to inspections, with penalties for non-compliance with hygiene and safety standards.

In a significant amendment made during the committee stage, fines for violating the law have been increased, ranging from MVR 10,000 to MVR 75,000, depending on the severity of the offence.

The bill is now awaiting the President’s ratification before it can be officially gazetted and implemented as law. This landmark legislation is expected to bolster consumer confidence in the safety and quality of food products available in the Maldives, while also promoting the growth and development of the domestic food industry.

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