President Mohamed Muizzu has ratified the Food Safety Act, a significant step in ensuring the safety and quality of food products in the Maldives. The bill, which was passed by the parliament at the 26th sitting of its first session on Monday, 13 May 2024, encompasses a comprehensive framework for regulating food safety.

The bill, proposed to parliament in August 2021 by the previous Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-led government, has been a focal point in addressing the critical need for stringent food safety regulations. The legislation aims to guarantee that all food products, whether locally produced, imported, or exported, are free from harmful substances and comply with established standards.

The legislation outlines comprehensive procedures and standards that must be adhered to by all stakeholders in the food industry, ensuring that food items are safe for human consumption. It establishes standards for various aspects of food production and preparation, including packaging, labelling, preservation, storage, trade, supply, and distribution.

Moreover, the law specifies the hygiene standards that individuals engaged in these operations must comply with to guarantee food safety. It also sets rigorous criteria for establishments involved in food preparation and production, outlining licensing requirements and penalties for violations, including fines ranging from MVR 10,000 to MVR 300,000.

In addition, the bill prohibits the import of certain food items and ingredients used in food preparation, including contaminated items, adulterants, mislabelled items, and items that are harmful for consumption. It also outlines procedures for conducting food safety inspections and specifies the standards that must be met at food production facilities.

The Food Safety Act is set to come into effect three months from the ratification date.