Veterinary laboratory MULTI LAB from Tuzla: Citizens are more concerned about quality than food safety

The MULTI LAB Company from Tuzla is the first private veterinary laboratory in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina area, but also the first company of this kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina in general. It deals with improvement and development of specialist work in the field of veterinary medicine, quality control and health safety of food for people and animals, as well as water, and implementation of obligatory disinfection, disinsection and pest control measures. Director and co-owner of the Company Sanel Hodžić says that they exist for more than a year and that in this period more than 400 companies have been assisted in establishing and maintaining a biosecurity control system from various fields of business.

– Among them are large companies, public institutions, public companies, medium and small enterprises, crafts … Many of them have certified or implemented international security standards, such as IFS, HACCP, HALAL or Organic, and those clients that have not implemented so far some of the standards, through our external associates or directly, we advise on how to establish the basic principles of good hygiene practice on their own – says Hodžić for the magazine Visit B&H.

Increased risk

As he points out, he is particularly proud of the fact that in addition to staff with laboratory work experience longer than 30 years, there are young people, doctors of veterinary medicine, microbiologists and graduated engineers of sanitation, who have established their work-legal status through the program employment of the Federal Employment Service.

-Laborators are established respecting all requirements of work quality control of laboratories in terms of equipment, human resources, consumables, reagents and working conditions, based on the principles of good laboratory practice. The Accreditation Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BATA) has accredited us for performing all laboratory methods. Special attention is paid to harmonization of laboratory methods with standard methods prescribed by international bodies (ISO, OIE, WHO, FAO, AOAC). Moreover, we are involved in procedures of international inter-laboratory testing for all authorized laboratory methods we perform. There is also the Certificate of Accreditation for meeting standards BAS EN ISO/IEC 17025/2006 and the Certificate in accordance with ISO 9001/2015 – says Hodžić.

Considering that, among other things, they are dealing with quality control and food safety, we were interested in what kind of food we eat. Hodžić says consumers today have a chance to choose very diverse and tasty foods due to globalization. There is a number of advantages, however, naturally, there is an increased risk as well, he says.

– There is no “zero risk” because food as matter is subject to various influences, from production to distribution. Consumers are recommended to buy food from a manufacturer or a distributor that takes care of all the security chain links and who have implemented recognized standards in production. Unfortunately, the system of self-control and official controls is not sufficiently developed, especially when it comes to imported articles – he says.

He says that producers and distributors must be aware of food safety controls, because they are bound by regulations. Since introduction of the “hygiene package” in 2011, the inspection potentials, as well as the obligations of the producers, have been strengthened.

Regulations

The Food Safety Agency and other authorities responsible for veterinary, health and food safety are doing a great job in this field. It is not possible to establish an impeccable system overnight, because significant financial resources are needed for implementation of food safety regulations. BiH has established the Institute for Standardization and the Institute for Accreditation, which, together with Food Safety Agency and the role of inspection bodies, keep the food market under control. And awareness of citizens is raising, perhaps more from the aspect of quality than security – he says.

When asked what is the priority in this regard, Hodžić says that it is necessary to put emphasis on faster harmonization of legislation with the Acquis of the European Union, at all levels, since regulations from the former Yugoslavia are still in use, then harmonize mutually applicable regulations in force, which regulate that field and ultimately establish all necessary institutions of the state, and abolish those that are not needed.

– I will be free to point out that it is necessary to privatize all companies and parts of institutions dealing with commercial activity, that is, organize them so that they operate under the same conditions as private companies, all because of the equal participation in the market, which is also one of the requirements of EU – he says.

Plans for the future

Hodžić says that in the future, they plan to intensively develop human resources, formal and informal education of staff, which is the most important segment of progress. Moreover, software upgrade, creation of an application for tracking findings, extension of accredited methods, procurement of additional equipment … In addition to the extension of laboratory services, in the segment of implementation of sanitation measures, they will also try to introduce some services that do not have such frequency, but no one is currently doing that on the market , and those things bring trouble to the citizens, such as capturing snakes and other types of reptiles, as well as various domestic and wild animals, as well as removing nests, ants, various other insects …