By Nisha Ganasen
ProPassion team of School of Media and Communication, Taylor’s University
Catch-Up myGAP campaign
Project Advisor: Ms. G. Manickam Govindaraju
THE saying “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” isn’t always good advice when it comes to food, “What you know can actually save you.”
Many people take things for granted when it comes to food. On contrary, everyone should be more careful and concerned on what goes into their body system. In 1826, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer, politician, and famous gastronome, wrote, ‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.’ This is true as our actions and inactions are determined by our health and by health, it refers to food.
To create a health-conscious generation, Taylor’s University’s final year ProPassion students from School of Media and Communication took it upon themselves in organizing myGAP (Malaysia Good Agricultural Practice) virtual forum with the Department of Agriculture (DOA), Putrajaya.
The forum, entitled “Know the GAP” with the tagline ‘Prioritise Your Health’, was held on 9th November 2021 (Tuesday), from 9:30am to 11.30am.
This aim of this forum was to raise public awareness on food safety issues, particularly pesticide-controlled items, which includes public awareness on the long-term health effects of toxic pesticides used on vegetables and fruits and the importance of eating pesticide-controlled agricultural products.
Its moderator, Deputy Chairman Pertubuhan Kebajikan Dan Perpaduan Komuniti Malaysia (PKPKM), Mr. R.M. Ravichandar’s moderation style made the event lively and interactive.
Three speakers shared their knowledge and perspectives in the session.
The first speaker, Juliana Ritonga Saipul Jannah, Principal Assistant Director of Crop Quality Control Division of DOA said, “We should choose wisely on the type of food we eat because the food we consume can be the safest and the most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
She added, “As part of national initiative, the government joined hands with global Good Agricultural Practices known as ‘myGAP’ to practise sustainable food production and consumption, where through myGAP certified food, consumers are able to enjoy high quality and improved nutrition products.”
The second speaker, Dr. Chong Li Choo, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director of Bachelor of Science, Culinology, Taylor’s University shared her valuable research findings on different types of pesticides and effective methods of removing pesticides from the agricultural produce.
“Soaking vegetables and fruits in bicarbonate of soda or vinegar and rinsing them under running water before consuming is one of the effective practises of removing unwanted pesticides. However, post-harvest processing or treatment through ozone technology is found to be more effective in delivering safe and quality food,” she said.
Dr. Choo also mentioned, “Innovation and efficient technology through myGAP is also necessary in ensuring consumers’ health and safety.”
Final speaker on the forum was Mr. SM Fairuz Bin SM Sharifuddin, Chief Operating Officer in Agro Tech Plantation who explained the importance of myGAP certification.
“We chose myGAP because our organisation’s vision is to introduce and commercialize Malaysia’s fresh agricultural products to the world so that everyone can enjoy fresh and safe food from this country.”
Firuz also expressed his excitement in successfully exporting their certified produced goods internationally such as Saudi Arabia, France and the United Kingdom because of the opportunity provided through myGAP endorsement.
The forum attracted more that 100 participants in the Zoom live session and more than 300 participants via Facebook live session.
Healthy and safe consumption of agricultural produce with myGAP endorsement is vital for everyone. Other countries have embraced the certification of GAP. As Malaysians, we need to cultivate the importance of safe products for our consumption. Suppliers need to look into health and embrace myGAP into their business.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of TVS.
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