The Health Ministry in Sri Lanka is to launch a National Policy on food safety from next year to ensure that foods available at hotels and fast food centres countrywide aresafe for consumption, the Daily News reported. Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne issued this directive after being informed of serious health hazards caused by the substandard foods sold countrywide. The Ministry will tighten regulations on issuing permits to hotels and restaurants from next month and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) will be instructed tocarry out regular inspection of these places. According to research conducted by health authorities, nearly 60 per cent of the population are subject to illness annually owing to the consumption of unsafe food. Several contagious diseases including cholera, dysentry and hepatitis have spread. "The situation has worsened as various preservatives and colourings are used to prepare these foods." a Ministry official added.