World Health Day 2015 : Healthy Market for Our #Safefood

The market is the melding of everything that relates to food and food safety. It is where distribution, raw products from farms, meats from the slaughterhouses, processed food, people and waste all come together. In many parts of the world, including Indonesia, markets are dense places packed with consumables. As beautiful as local, traditional markets may be, they may also carry a risk of efficiently transmitting foodborne diseases.

“Food safety and prevention of foodborne diseases cover a very vast area. A healthy food market is central to it” said Dr Sugeng E Irianto, a food safety expert in WHO Country Office, Indonesia.

HFM generates the national scale-up for healthier and safer market
WHO/AriHandoko

Indonesia has approximately 13 500 markets with 12.6 million vendors trading within. This high number indicates a potential multiplied effect of foodborne diseases if a market becomes a source of disease. Safeguarding the market by making it healthier is a strategic step to reducing the risk of foodborne disease outbreak.

“Food safety and prevention of foodborne diseases cover a very vast area. A healthy food market is central to it.”

- Dr Sugeng E Irianto, a food safety expert in WHO Country Office for Indonesia

The initiative for the Healthy Food Market (HFM) in Indonesia was the result of preventing transmission of H5N1 Avian Influenza in 2006. The pilot project of HFM in 11 districts in 9 provinces was started by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia (MOH) in 2008 with the support of the World Health Organization.

During the implementation, Ministry of Health worked with a wide range of local authorities such as; Agriculture/Veterinary Authorities, Market Management Office (UPTD Pasar), Public Sanitation Authority, Public Work Office, Local Development Planning Board, Transportation Authority, Association of Traditional Market Traders (APPSI), Indonesian Consumers Board (YLKI), National Food and Drugs Control Agency, Ministry of Planning and Development, Ministry of Marine and Fishery and Offices of Ministries that included Trade, Small and Media Enterprises, and Internal Affairs.

The focus of this initial project was capacity building and public awareness. It was started by advocating HFM to local governments and relevant stakeholders, informing them about how HFM could be useful in preventing disease transmission such as Avian Influenza (H5N1). The success of this project depended on strong commitment and active participation of stakeholders, along with close monitoring and evaluation. The model is now ready to be replicated.

The Healthy Food Market project managed to build the capacity of many sectors by providing cascading training and supporting equipment, developing and implementing Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and by assisting market communities through landline radio stations broadcasting healthy food market messages along with food safety and health messages.

Radio is used often to broadcast healthy food market messages that people can relate to and Mr Ruslan, manager of Cibubur Market in East Jakarta, says the effort has paid off. “It is a lot of hard work, particularly in bringing the food sellers to adopt the attitude and behaviour, that cleanliness is nonnegotiable, and that there are other things they should be aware of beyond what they had done for many years.”

Radio is channel to broadcast healthy food market messages, attractive to people
WHO/Dinar.P.Sari

Besides having a larger compliance with Health Food Market standards, the management goes above and beyond the scope of the project to ensure that the river next to the market is clean and the recycled organic waste goes to compost. Every element is important.

“What happens in the market is the result of a lot of interactions. Major suppliers, distributors, vendors, consumers, market managers, sanitation officers and community stakeholders need to share responsibilities in ensuring that the food are safe, for everybody, not just for consumers,” concluded Dr Irianto.

“It is a lot of hard work, particularly in bringing the food sellers to adopt the attitude and behaviour, that cleanliness is nonnegotiable, and that there are other things they should be aware of beyond what they had done for many years.”

Mr Ruslan - manager of Cibubur Market in East Jakarta

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