Ministry of Agriculture and U.S. Government Launch the First Governmental Meat and Dairy Safety Testing Lab

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ramallah, West Bank  -  The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture  launched last week, onJune 7, 2012,  the first government laboratory for the testing of meat and dairy products for international export, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Through its Civic Engagement Program, the U.S. Agency for International Development, partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to establish the first Palestinian governmental food safety testing laboratory for mead and dairy products.  The Laboratory will provide the health and safety certifications, based on international standards, for Palestinian dairy and meat products, thereby providing an opportunity for Palestinian companies to expand into nearby markets.  The facility, designed in accordance with international standards used by testing and calibration laboratories, features chemical and microbiological laboratories, and modern equipment to support the testing regime and procedures required to meet international certification standards.

“For the first time, the Ministry of Agriculture will fulfill its role in monitoring animal products.  This was previously done by another ministry and other labs,” explained Dr. Assad Manasra, Director of the Central Veterinary Lab.

The new laboratory will also improve food safety for Palestinian consumers.  By supporting the testing and subsequent certification of Palestinian animal and dairy products, the Ministry of Agriculture will be able to improve food quality standards throughout the Palestinian food chain, from inputs to the final products, and better regulate meat and dairy products sold to Palestinian consumers.

“This lab will make it possible for Palestinian producers to get products into international markets and assure the quality of products for sale within the West Bank and Gaza.  For the consumers, it means that they’re going to have much greater confidence in the quality of the products that they are putting on their dinner table for their families,” said Michael Harvey, USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission Director.  

Since 1994, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, has provided more than $3.5 billion in U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. USAID coordinates closely with the Palestinian Authority to support projects designed to reduce poverty, improve health and education, implement infrastructure and water projects, create jobs, and promote democracy and good governance.