The Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been carrying out surprise inspections at drinking water plants in four townships of Yangon Region every month, said Dr. Min Wun, the head of FDA (Yangon).
“The plan is expected to cover the whole region, so, the FDA is inspecting factories in four townships in the four districts of Yangon Region. We are checking three or four factories in each township. The inspection is not concerned with any complaint. We are just making surprise checks on factories,” he said.
During the inspections, officials with the FDA have been checking whether factories are producing drinking water in line with good manufacturing practices (GMP). Factories which are failing to follow GMP are being disqualified and production is being temporarily halted. The factories are being permitted to resume business once they pass an assessment and are found complying with the standard guidelines.
“We inspected around 16 factories this month. We have not made the monthly report yet. Some factories have been terminated. Some businesses changed their production process, bringing it in line with purification procedures and GMP guidelines, and then, they were permitted to restore production,” said Dr. Min Wun.
Additionally, acting on complaints from the public, the FDA inspected two drinking water factories namely Kaung Kaung and Shwe Myanmar brands. The officials found the some factories were running without production certificates and were not complying with GMP guidelines.
“The unlawful factories were directed not to distribute their water. If they are found to violate rules and regulations, action will be taken against them under the existing laws,” according to Yangon Region FDA.
At present, the Yangon FDA has increased the frequency of inspections to clamp down on unregistered factories. Consumers are also being encourage to buy only FDA-certified drinking water and lodge complaints against it if they find any unlicensed businesses. “We can easily detect legal and illegal distributors. For example, if a water bottle is tagged with the FDA certificate number on the label, it has been approved by the FDA. Illegal distributors do not mention their business address on the label, while some labels include only a phone number and a brand name. Consumer must check how clean the water bottle is, and avoid using water bottles without proper labels. The public must file a complaint if they find unlicensed manufacturers running their business in the market,” said Dr. Min Wun.
The FDA Yangon inspected 16 drinking water factories in December and found two were running their businesses without a licence. Of the remaining factories, 11 were disqualified for not following GMP guidelines and were temporarily shut down, while three cleared the inspection, according to data from FDA Yangon.
There are about 400 drinking water enterprises approved by the FDA in Yangon.
By Nyein Nyein (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)