The Mark wins marks with Lao restaurants


LUANG PRABANG, 30 September 2016: The Mark Luang Prabang is refining its process to reach a growing number of Lao-operated restaurants wanting to enroll in the international food safety and hygiene certification programme.

When Lanith Luang Prabang director, Chounlachan Phengdy, who manages The Mark, joined the programme in June, she discovered several Lao business owners and managers, previously uninterested in The Mark, wanted to participate.

“They now understand The Mark is not just an award to put on their counters, but it represents a procedure that follows international standards on how to operate a kitchen and cook safe food for the guests,” she said.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALanith food production advisor Paul Burnett, who has overseen The Mark since it went into full swing, also noted more Lao businesses coming on board. He is tackling challenges in meeting their specific needs for 2017.

“The literal translation from CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) material is confusing, too technical, and difficult to translate into Lao,” he said. “As such, I rewrote the documents in simpler English for an easier-to- comprehend Lao translation, while maintaining the integrity of the programme.”

Mr Burnett added that businesses seeking The Mark in 2017, must first attend a Lao-language workshop so they can more easily understand the certification’s requirements.

Much like the event held last June, The Mark video is available on /TheMarkLaos Facebook page, will hold centre stage, after which participants can ask questions about clean and safe dining, and discuss The Mark.

Burnett said that some small, often family-run, restaurants are not ready to enrol in The Mark, and need more basic training by taking courses in Lanith’s Passport to Success programme.

Formal audits for The Mark, conducted by Lanith, will be completed this week. Souphanouvong University has finished collecting food and premise samples from all participants. Results are due to be released soon.

Lanith is The Mark’s operating body, and has received support from UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) and funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).