Food Safety in Bhutan

Food Safety in Bhutan

Basic Acts, Laws and Regulations on Food Safety in Bhutan

  1. Food Act, 2005: This Act regulates the import, export and trade of food in the Kingdom of Bhutan. It deals with matters related to food inspectors and analysts. Inspections shall be carried out in order to supervise on the following: hygiene of food businesses and their installations; substances used in food manufacturing or food preservation; health and hygiene of personnel employed at food businesses; packaging materials; labelling, etc. All food businesses and food shall meet the prescribed standards for quality and safety established by the Minister.
  2. Bhutan Fishing Rules, 1974: This Regulation regulates fishing in Bhutan. Fishing without a licence in any stream, lake, pond or river is strictly forbidden. A fishing licence shall be issued by the Head of the Department of Forestry, Divisional Forest Officers, or other persons empowered to do so by the Government. Article 4 specified periods during which fishing shall be prohibited. Use of fishing methods specified in article 5 is strictly prohibited. Licence holders shall not catch more than eight fishes per day (art. 6). Remaining provisions prescribe offences and penalties and specify fishing licence fees. 
  1. Livestock Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan: As specified in the preamble, this Law aims in particular at enhancing the nutritional standards and income of the farmers of Bhutan. Specific technical purposes are:
  1. to improve and protect the health of livestock, poultry and other domestic animals;
  2. to prevent the spreading of animal diseases;
  3. to promote the development and enhance the productivity of the national livestock and poultry resources;
  4. to protect the human population against diseases transmissible from animals to man or originating from animal products.

For the purposes stated in the preamble, the following By-laws are approved:

  1. Improvement of cattle and other livestock and poultry (No. 1);
  2. Control of rabies and other zoonosis (No. 2);
  3. Measures to prevent the introduction of infectious and contagious animal diseases from abroad (No. 3);
  4. Notification and control of transmissible diseases of livestock and poultry (No. 4); Slaughter and meat inspection (No. 5);
  5. Veterinary food and commodity inspection (No. 6);
  6. Restricted animal husbandry farms (No. 7);
  7. Disposal of dead animals. (No.8).
  1. Livestock Act of Bhutan, 2001: This Act regulates livestock breeding, health and production aimed at enhancing their productivity and preventing diseases so as to enhance rural income and livelihood and to ensure food safety.
  1. Pesticides Act of Bhutan, 2000: The Act provides for the integrated pest management in Bhutan, restricting the usage of pesticides as second-line measures against pests and diseases. The Act ratifies the institution of a Pesticides Board, which shall seat experts in the field of Environment, Forestry, Plant pathology and Entomology, Health, Plant Quarantine, Animal Husbandry and other related fields. The Board shall authorize the importation, manufacturing and sale of pesticides on the basis of scientific and technical evidence supporting their use and on the number already licensed for use in Bhutan.
  1. Seeds Act of Bhutan, 2000: The Act provides for the institution of the National Seed Board that shall be responsible for the national seed program and the provisions of this act and shall advise the Ministry of Agriculture on all related issues. Notification of seeds for quality and variety may be disposed of by the Ministry together with the minimum limits of germination and purity, and the labelling indicating conformity to the Act. A Seed Certification Agency may be appointed by the Ministry, with the approval of the Board, that shall grant a seed certificate to individual or companies involved in selling or trading notified seeds; recognition of a foreign Seed certification Agency may be ruled for by the Board under this Act.
  1. Plant Quarantine Act of Bhutan: The purpose of this Act is to prevent introduction of pests in Bhutan, to control pests already present in the country, to promote international cooperation in the field of plant protection and to provide import and export facilities.
  1. Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan, 1995: The Act provides for the regulation of use of public and private forests and the protection of forests, wild animals and plants, and the conservation of soil and water resources. 
  1. National Environment Protection Act, 2007: This Act provides for the sustainable use of natural resources, economic development and environmental conservation. The Act provides for the establishment of the National Environment Commission which shall be an independent authority and the highest decision making body on all matters relating to the environment and its management in the country. Powers and functions of the Commission shall include: prevent environmental harm, including pollution, and protect environmental quality; waste management; enforce and implement policies, plans, etc. for environmental protection.

Institutional Mapping:


Key area of Responsibilities

1. Ministry of Agriculture and Forest

Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority

The agency was institutionalized as a perpetual, public-sector instrument to promote the quality and safety of goods and products related to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. Implement RNR related legal instruments such as the Plant Quarantine Act, Seed Act, Pesticide Act, Livestock Act, Food Act, National Biosafety Framework, Forest and Nature Conservation Act, Biodiversity Act and their secondary and tertiary legislations.

Department of Agriculture

There are 13 programs identified and these programs are aimed to ensure food security and increase income through improved management of arable, horticulture crops and medicinal plants. Access to markets, farm inputs, construction of farm roads and selection of improved technologies are some of the means prioritized.

Department of Livestock

The Objectives of DoL are to:
Enhance livestock production and productivity.
Achieve greater food-security and self-sufficiency in livestock products.
Improve the nutritional status of people.
Implement effective and efficient disease prevention and control programs.
Provide superior quality inputs to the farmers.
Provide effective breed improvement services.

Department of Forest

Ensuring progressive forestry research to provide relevant analyses on forest resources data for formulation of effective policies, plans, strategies, rules and regulations for sustainable forest management; Contribute to production of food, water, energy and other commodities by effectively coordinating between forestry, farming systems and other agencies.

2. National Environment Commission: The NEC  is mandated to look after all issues related to environment in Bhutan. The Commission also monitors the impact of development on the environment and aims to put in place the necessary controls, regulations and incentives to the private/public sectors to achieve sustainable development. The NEC Secretariat plays a key role in promoting sound environmental policies and investments.

3. Ministry of Health: Conduct relevant research aimed ar improving regulatory measures related to food safety and protection of health and life of plants and animals. Also, ensures foods are of good quality and safe for human consumption.



Related Content