Continuing to Foster a Risk Assessment Capacity to Support Aligned Food Safety Regulatory Decisions @arabsafetrade

Tunis, 19 July 2018 The Expert Working Group on Food Safety Risk Assessment for the Arab Region, concluded its 2-day meeting in Tunis, Tunisia with participation from Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and Tunisia.


This working group, chaired by Morocco, was struck and has been active since December 2016 under the auspices of the Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation (SAFE), implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and funded by the Government of Sweden. It aims at developing a food safety risk assessment capacity for the Arab region, to support increased alignment in food regulatory measures between food regulators in the region, as a result of the adoption of science-based decisions.

IMG_3253Meeting participants examined the risk assessment training program to be delivered, as part of SAFE and developed recommendations for its implementation. The EWG also agreed to continue the development of collaborative initiatives in risk assessment capacity building with European food risk assessment institutions such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) etc..

Arab experts reviewed the pilot risk assessment studies to be undertaken in the Arab region, throughout the upcoming year and agreed on their scope: “Salmonella in Broiler chicken”, “Aflatoxins in the Arab diet” and “Ochratoxin A in cereal-derived foods”. The requirements for the calls for data to support these studies were finalized with the aim to attempt to capture as much food occurrence and exposure information as possible from food authorities and academic organizations in the Arab region.

Experts discussed efforts to bolster the food safety risk assessment capacity throughout the Arab region and enable it with the required baseline information for sustainability of investments. A recommendation was made to initiate the development of food consumption data in various Arab sub-regions. At a time where a number of food safety regulatory authorities are initiating this effort, the EWG recommended that SAFE guides this effort with the development of a common set of requirements including an agreed-upon food categorization system as well as guidelines for the implementation of data collection, to enable opportunities of seamless data sharing and the possibility of use of such data throughout the Arab region. Participants reiterated the importance of risk assessment as a key foundation of robust food safety regulatory decisions and the need to further broadening of risk assessment capacity amongst food safety regulators in the Arab region.


The Arab Risk Assessment Initiative is one of the key initiatives implemented as part of the Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation (SAFE):
The Arab Food Safety Initiative for Trade Facilitation (SAFE) is a capacity building project financed by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with the League of Arab States (LAS), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD)


Save the date for the #WorldFoodForum part of #EXPO2015 – 22-23 September 2015 Milan

Save the date for the launch of the World Food (Research and Innovation) Forum, a unique opportunity to engage with stakeholders representing academic, government, the food business community and international organizations on issues related to food safety, security and sustainability.
Creating a forum for dialogue, engagement and forward thinking:

Aiming for a safer, more abundant and sustainable food supply for all.

Get the latest updates from the #AOAC #FoodAllergen Community

The June 2015 Issue of the AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Communities) Food Allergen Community was made available yesterday.

You can read about the latest updates on food allergen regulatory provisions internationally, some reports on the latest events organized or attended by Community members as well as about some of the latest publications and tools related to food allergen management, recently made available.

The Program of the Food Allergen session at the upcoming (2015) AOAC annual meeting is also made available.

Thanks to the AOAC Food Allergen Community Co-chairs and to the Editorial team for keeping up apprised of the latest developments.



#WorldFoodForum: An opportunity to develop momentum for #foodsafety initiatives globally

The World Food (Research and Innovation) Forum is an initiative of the Emilia-Romagna Region, in Italy, aimed to create a permanent platform available to national and international policy makers, the science, research, business and investment communities to gather, share and develop strategies and initiatives to support food security and food safety globally.


The forum is intended to be launched as a biennial event dedicated to food-related issues as part of the legacy of EXPO Milano 2015 : “Feeding the Planet, Energy for life”, with a first edition to be held on 22-23 September 2015 at the Italian Pavilion of the Expo.

As part of the preparation for this event, I am honoured to chair a meeting of experts held in Brussels on March 26th to discuss trends, areas of priority, emerging food safety issues and opportunities where this forum can serve as an international platform to bring together food safety partners and stakeholders to promote food safety globally.

A few areas of discussions have already been identified including How food safety promotion can be an engine for innovation and how food safety capacity building efforts can be developed and promoted at the global scale.

I look forward to engaging with colleagues and peers at tomorrow’s discussions.

Samuel Godefroy, Ph.D. – Personal opinion / input

Global Food Safety Capacity Building addresses both public health and economic development imperatives.

Published earlier on: Striking Poverty – Development Dialogue for Global Food Safety

Please feel free to join the conversation at the above mentioned link.

Authored by: Samuel Godefroy, Global Food Safety Partnership, World Bank – Adj. Professor, Food Risk Analysis and Food Systems, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University Laval, Québec, QC.

Access to clean water and clean air is a fundamental human right. Similarly, access to safe food is another necessity. Food safety is a condition for food availability and therefore for food security.

Beyond the clear public health benefits expected as a result of compliance with food safety requirements, enhanced food safety is a prerequisite to consumer confidence and therefore to market access. Consumers around the world demand access to safe food and are increasingly aware of and sensitive to existing and emerging food safety risks. Food and food products are also amongst the most traded commodities domestically and internationally. Safety of food products is therefore a condition for economic development and prosperity.

The case for upgrading food safety practices globally and across the entire supply chain, from farm to fork, is self-evident and does not require further demonstration. As the World Health Organisation is dedicating the focus of World Health Day on April 7th, 2015 to food safety, it is important to highlight the need for more efforts and resources to food safety capacity building initiatives globally, if we are to achieve public health and human development goals across the world.


The Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), initiated in 2012 with the endorsement of a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders (governments, industry and international organisations) is a unique opportunity to help achieve these goals. The unique public-private nature of this partnership model aims to enhance coordination and alignment, to act across the entire food supply chain, to ensure consistency of dissemination of food safety practices, and to magnify impacts of existing efforts in food safety capacity building. The objective is to lead to sustainable access to capacity building resources for all stakeholders and partners in middle and low-income countries that help convergence with international food standards and therefore contribute to protect consumers’ health and prevent impediments in the food trade globally.

Evidence supporting #glutenfree claims for specially produced oats – available for comments

Health Canada’s Food Directorate scientists reviewed and updated the evidence that supports the safety for Celiac individuals of specially produced oats i.e., oats that are produced in a manner that makes them pure and uncontaminated with other cereal grains such as wheat and barley. The conclusion of this review is that these oats are safe to be introduced in a “gluten-free” diet for the majority of celiac individuals. The evidence is open for consultation and input from the stakeholder community until the end of January 2015. Input should be provided to

More information on Health Canada’s consultation is available via this link:  Health Canada’s consultation on “Gluten free” claims for pure and uncontaminated oats

Blog post by Samuel Godefroy : Opinions are personal with no attribution to my employer

APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum : High level Regulator Industry Dialogue – Towards stronger partnership to promote #foodsafety in the region

On September 12th, 2014, the Asia Pacific Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) co-chaired by China and Australia convened food regulators, industry representatives, academia and other food stakeholders in the region to a “High Level Regulator Industry Dialogue on food safety” on the margin of the organization of the special meeting of the FSCF held on September 13th in Beijing.

2014.9.12Participants acknowledged the complementary nature of roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in particular of industry and regulators in ensuring food safety and discussed avenues to enhance such collaboration.


IMG-20140912-00042Participants agreed to make 4 recommendations to the FSCF:

  • To enhance communication and collaboration between food safety regulators and industry under the auspices of the FSCF, recognizing the benefits of public-private partnerships,
  • To ensure that food safety regulators continue their commitment to transparency in policy development, in adopting good regulatory practices, the use of science-based international food safety standards and the opportunity for industry and stakeholder engagement in developing food regulatory measures,
  • To enhance ability of the food industry and food industry associations in the region to comply with food safety requirements, standards and best practices through dedicated capacity building activities with a possible focus on small and medium enterprises and
  • To enhance capabilities of APEC member economies and food industry using the established FSCF Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN).

These recommendations were considered and supported by representatives of APEC member economies during the meeting of the FSCF held on September 13th, 2014. Enhancing collaboration between food stakeholders to support food safety will be one of the themes further discussed at the next meeting of the FSCF hosted by the Philippines in 2015.

HC’s #FoodDirectorate updates stakeholders on accomplishments and on-going initiatives – #FoodTimes August 2014

Health Canada’s Food Directorate shared with stakeholders an update on its key accomplishments and on-going initiatives for August 2014.

Food Times, previously published on quarterly basis, will be now shared with stakeholders monthly, using a shorter, abbreviated version. This change is meant to enhance transparency and on-going stakeholder engagement by Health Canada’s Food Directorate, as a primary food standard setter in Canada.

Comments and input on this updated approach are welcome and can be sent to

Updating the #AOAC Food Allergen Community on latest accomplishments and future direction in capacity building re. food allergen management

During tonight’s meeting of the of the Food Allergen Community of AOAC International (International Association of Official Analytical Communities), I will attempt to  provide an overview of the latest accomplishments and future directions related to capacity building initiatives associated with  food allergen management and supported by the Government of Canada. I will focus on our recent efforts under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific (APEC) Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the workshop co-organised by Health Canada’s Food Directorate and FARRP last May.

An effort to further document and map capacity building needs in this area, for the region will be attempted during the upcoming China International Food Safety and Quality Conference, where we are aiming to organise a dedicated session on food allergens, on November 6th, 2014 in Shanghai.




Enhanced meat labeling requirements and guidance to support #foodsafety

Example of Mechanically Tenderized Beef Labeling according to the new regulations / Exemple d'étiquetage requis par le nouveau régelement

Example of Mechanically Tenderized Beef Labeling according to the new regulations / Exemple d’étiquetage requis par le nouveau réglement

Canada’s new labeling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef are in effect as of today, August 21st, 2014. Health Canada announced the coming into force today on its website.

In June 2014, Health Canada’s Food Directorate issued guidance on how these regulatory requirements are to be implemented. This guidance was previously discussed on this blog.


These requirements are meant to create consistency in the way information is displayed on food labels, to support consumer choice and enable enhanced food safety practices such as following the relevant advice about cooking temperatures, as an additional measure to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Additional guidance was also made available by Health Canada to support consistency of labeling for raw meat and poultry . This guidance, when followed by processors and retailers, will result in labels that clearly display safe handling information useful to consumers to prevent food safety incidents and food borne illnesses.

Example of best practices  to present safe handling information on ground meat labels

Example of best practices to present safe handling information on ground meat labels