“The surveillance mechanism is not powerful enough to cover the entire country.”
Most business, she says think only of short term profit and lack concern on a better customer service.
“Business community has poor respect towards consumer rights.”
She was speaking at a forum to mark world consumer rights day organized by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in Colombo.
Thilakarathne says there are several other challenges as well faced by the regulators like insufficient testing facilities to get analytical reports on food items.
“Most of the testing labs are not accredited and the reports can be challenged. Therefore, more emphasis has to be placed in developing and promoting accredited laboratory network which is capable of addressing the needs of the food industry as well as the regulators.”
Further, she says Sri Lanka has to give due consideration on development of a food storage system, in order to ensure food safety and food security for its people.
“Prosecution of offenders is only a reactive measure to ensure food safety and a less effective method in the long term.”
“Promoting the industry for self-regulation is one option. But further thoughts are necessary on the level of success as a developing country.”
Consumers also have a big role to play and be vigilant about what they purchase. They need to check if the product is labelled properly, whether the expiry date is correctly mentioned, whether the product is free from external damages etc.
The IPS also launched a report to mark the day titled; report on implementation of school canteen guidelines.
The first copy of the report was handed over to chief guest at the event Rishard Bathiudeen, minister of Industry and Commerce.