KUALA LUMPUR-- Food manufacturers are today told to obtain the 'Food Safety is the Responsibility of the Industry" (MeSTI) certification to ensure their products comply with the food hygiene and safety requirements.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the certification also provided manufacturers with a strong branding to convince consumers on the safety and cleanliness of their products.
Indirectly, he said, it could help boost sales of the products.
"For this purpose, guidelines are provided for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to assist them with meeting the stipulated requirements to be issued with the certificate," he said in his speech at the launch of MeSTI here Thursday.
Liow said that since the programme was introduced in July last year, a total of 337 enterprises had been issued with the MeSTI certification.
"Currently, there are 15,000 SMEs are involved in the food processing industry nationwide and we are targetting between 400 and 500 of them to be issued with the certificate this year," he added.
He said the ministry was still monitoring the effectiveness of the programme, before making it compulsory for all food manufacturers to obtain the certificate.
Meanwhile, at a media conference after the function, Liow said adequate medicine and blood supply had been sent to Sabah to meet the medical needs of security members involved in Ops Daulat.
"So far, we have sent aid, worth RM4 million, to three hospitals in Sabah, in Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Semporna, to accommodate their needs in terms of medical supplies and equipment," he added.
Meanwhile, when visiting the Tampin Hospital in TAMPIN, Liow said the ministry planned to increased the number of government specialist hospitals by between five and 10 annually subject to its ability to train sufficient specialists.
He was accompanied by Works Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor, who is also the MP for Tampin.
Currently there 140 government hospitals in the country of which 55 are specialist hospitals.