The announcement was made by health minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at an event in Kuala Lumpur and was reported by local media.
Envisaged by the Ministry of Health, the ‘1Malaysia Food Safety Scheme’ is a program initiated by the government last year with the aim of ensuring quality and safety in food products.
The scheme was specifically made for smaller manufacturers in the country who are not governed by Good Manufacturing Practices as the bigger domestic, and multinational food manufacturers are.
Under the scheme, the government had announced that small and medium manufacturers in the country could get the free 1Malaysia Food Safety endorsement issued by the ministry to claim their product as safe and hygienic.
For the certification, manufacturers have to comply with the ministry’s guidelines and checklist, post which officials will visit the premises before issuing the endorsement.
“However, this inspection and endorsement is voluntary; the recent announcement means that the inspections and subsequent endorsements would be compulsory beginning 2014,” said an official at the ministry, who requested anonymity.
Under the current process, the ministry’s inspection teams do sampling of all food products manufactured by small and medium enterprises at the retail end, but do not sample at the production end unless requisitioned for certification.
Malaysia has more than 100,000 small and medium enterprises engaged in the manufacture of food products in the country; a reason behind the three-year delay to make the scheme compulsory.