The Thai Department of Health is building a food safety network in collaboration with Laos, in prepration for the beginning of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

The two sides held an academic forum in Thailand’s Nong Khai province to discuss the building of the Vientiane – Nong Khai – Khon Khaen food safety network, which aims to improve tourists’ confidence in consuming safe and hygienic food.

Narong Saiwong, Deputy Director General of the department, said Health Centre 6 of Khon Khaen province launched the Thailand-Laos food safety project in 2013 and has carried it throughout 2014 so as to bring about collaborative guidelines and the development of assessment criteria for food safety in the two countries.

The forum considered appointing a tripartite committee within the framework of food safety collaboration to assess restaurants in front line areas, especially in Nong Khai and Vientiane, in order to prepare them for the AEC.

He added that the department has already used the criteria to audit eight restaurants in prominent areas of both countries while the Thai-Laos inspection committee has suggested restaurant owners regularly use chopping board covers and a pedal opening waste container as well as the cook and assistant cook wash their hands more thoroughly before preparing food.-VNA