The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) kicked off a regional rood safety consultation workshop in Bangkok, Thailand this week.

According to local news media, more than 45 food safety professionals from 13 Asian countries are attending the consultation.

Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, opened the consultation, according to the report.

“Although governments in the region have been working to address food safety in their countries, the challenges are many,” said Konuma. “One of the major issues is the lack of clarity of the role of multiple agencies and coordination mechanisms due to the multidisciplinary nature of food safety, which needs involvement of not only a large number of departments to oversee and coordinate food-safety aspects, but also involvement of multiple stakeholders – the producers, processors, handlers, retailers, consumers – that have a role in ensuring that there is no neglect in any portion of the food chain for ensuring safe food.”

FAO is currently supporting somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 projects in various countries of the Asia-Pacific region related to food safety, covering capacity strengthening of many aspects of food safety and quality policies, the report noted.