Strict safety standards will help boost Thai food exports: DITP
The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) expects food exports to grow this year thanks to Thailand’s strict safety standards and full cooperation from food producers.
Along with supervisory measures, DITP has also launched the “Thailand Delivers with Safety” campaign to boost confidence among importers.
Somdet Susomboon, DITP’s director-general, said the overall value of Thai food exports in January and February stood at 164.15 million baht.
The top five agricultural products exported were cassava; rice; fresh, chilled, frozen and dried fruit; processed chicken; fresh, cold and frozen chicken. The top five agro-industrial products exported included canned and processed seafood; wheat and other processed food; pet food; beverages; and canned and processed fruit.
The market for Thai food products is expected to grow 7.1 per cent, fetching 1.05 billion baht, mainly driven by surging demands in the global market following the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in many countries.
Also, the rising price of agricultural and food products, especially chicken, sugar, cassava and pineapple products, complemented with the compliance of Covid-19 prevention measures in food exports, will contribute to this anticipated growth.
“The latest wave of Covid-19 in Thailand continues to rage, affecting not only the lives of people but also striking all economic sectors. Therefore, it is crucial that Thailand launch drives to boost the confidence of trading partners. Thus, DITP is joining forces with both public and private sectors to intensify safety measures in food manufacturing by launching the Covid-19 prevention best practices for food export among manufacturers, exporters, business operators, raw material suppliers, as well as logistics operators to strictly follow,” Somdet said.
To ensure safety, business operators and suppliers must strictly adhere to the following practices:
• Reduce the risk of contamination: Operators and suppliers shipping fruits and vegetables must control access to the premises, screen and manage employee data as well as data on freight vehicles, ensure surfaces are cleaned after each use and employees wear facemasks at all times.
• Strict safety control in manufacturing: Businesses must implement quality and safety controls throughout the production line, from receiving fruits and vegetables to processing and packing in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). Employees must maintain personal hygiene by wearing an apron, gloves and a face mask at all times. This also includes cleaning and disinfecting the interior of vehicle containers.
• Controlling personal hygiene and work environment:
1. Buildings: All exits and entrances must be controlled while the manufacturing building, meeting room, cafeteria, changing room and toilets remain free of congestion. Efficient ventilation systems and air filters should be installed in the building.
2. Sanitation: Personal hygiene equipment must be readily available at work stations, including a sink, liquid soap, disinfectant, disposable paper towels and auto lid pedal waste bins, with clear instructions provided.
3. Cleaning: Machinery, manufacturing buildings, floors, walls, as well as common areas which are prone to contact such as doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, chairs, dining tables, etc., must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
4. Workers’ hygiene: Workers must be screened daily before entering the building, tracing information collected and they must wear a mask at all times. They are also required to wear gloves, shoes, wash hands regularly, maintain social distancing and prevent any contaminations during operation.
5. Training: Employees must be trained on protecting themselves from Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Thai food exports last year generated 980.7 million baht, dropping about 5.1 per cent compared to the year before. Thailand’s global market share also dropped to 2.32 per cent from 2.49 per cent in 2019, while Thailand took 13th place among top food exporters, dropping from No 11 in the previous year.