Aiming for a permanent platform to promote partnership in food safety, security and sustainability – #WorldFoodForum

logo-worldfooforum  Aiming for a permanent platform to promote partnership and cooperation in food safety, security and sustainability

By Samuel Godefroy, Ph.D. – Professor, Food Risk Analysis and Regulatory Systems, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University Laval, Québec, QC. Canada

Published earlier on: World Food Forum Website on August 19th, 2015

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 and availability of food products is therefore a condition for and a demonstration of economic development and prosperity. Innovation in the food and agri-food sector, the development of trends aiming to enhance the sustainability of food production, to decrease its environmental impacts and its energy consumption requirements are also interrelated with food safety, food security, food quality and consumer concerns.

Having the 2015 Universal Exhibition currently hosted by the city of Milan, Italy, fully dedicated to the theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life offers the unique opportunity for a platform of dialogue, exchange, and stronger leadership in identifying and analyzing trends and emerging issues, in sharing best practices and in promoting collaboration and partnership to address challenges in food safety, food security and sustainability and to support research and innovation in the food and agri-food sector.

The opportunity to hold a World Food Forum scheduled for September 22-23, part of Milan Expo 2015 is visionary in many respects. This platform offers to convene national and international food policy makers, food regulators, international and development organizations, food business leaders, the Finance, Science, Research and Innovation community, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It offers to become a permanent platform for dialogue amongst leaders of the food sector to promote partnerships and collaboration. For a number of actions that address food safety, food security and sustainability, the mobilization of all sectors (public, private, academia, NGOs) and the creation of partnership are key to success. In following the principle that dialogue is a prerequisite to multi-sectorial action in response to multi-faceted challenges, I am hopeful that this new Forum will:

  • enable and stimulate strategic engagement, policy discussions and dialogue on challenges and opportunities of the food sector, with a particular focus on sharing best practices and lessons learnt from partnership initiatives in food safety, food security and sustainability, as well as food research and innovation
  • promote leadership in the development of robust partnerships, concerted action and more investments to address challenges in food safety, security, sustainability and innovation.

Food is such an important determinant of human health and human prosperity that we owe it to ourselves to make this Forum a successful platform for such cooperation.

Looking forward to meet the Forum participants in Milan, at the World Food Forum inaugural meeting held in September 22-23, 2014.

Annual Conference of the AQIA dedicated to #FoodAllergen Management

Food Allergen Management, Emerging Issues and Perspectives is the theme chosen this year for the annual meeting of the Association Québecoise pour l’innocuité alimentaire.

This meeting is to be held in Quebec City, QC, Canada on Sept 30-Oct 1st, 2015.

Take note of key speakers from Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. Various topics will be discussed dealing with the the public health impacts of food allergens, food allergen management by the food industry, regulatory management of this issue, emerging issues of allergen thresholds and their possible use in risk management considerations, as well as food allergen analytical method development and applications in food allergen control by the food processing sector.

The organizers are still looking for sponsors for this event, so feel free to contact: Andrée Lagacé at  Andree.Lagace@fsaa.ulaval.ca or by phone at (418) 656-3951

More information on this event can be obtained though the AQIA Website.

The preliminary programme for this event is attached:

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.

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.

GFSP-logo

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.

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 food-aliment@hc-sc.gc.ca

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.

mech-tenderized-beef-boeuf-attendris-meca-02

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

 

Capacity Building Activities essential to #Codexalimentarius – Aiming for more inclusive processes and engaged membership

The Strategic Plan 2014-19 adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission membership at its last commission meeting in 2013 reaffirmed the importance of capacity building initiatives dedicated to strengthen Codex structures, support participation and engagement of developing countries and ensure that Codex standards are truly global with an effective contribution from all countries, including developing countries. A specific Strategic Goal (Strategic Goal 3: Facilitate effective participation of all codex members) was dedicated to this purpose. Similar endeavours are also to be pursued under Strategic Goal 2, with the objective to ensure that scientific evidence supporting Codex standards be provided by as many members as possible.

Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in two capacity building initiatives recently held in Canada and the United States, where I was honored to contribute to the scientific and technical program developed by the organizers.

From left to right : Michael Abbott (HC), Dr. Stephen Taylor (FARRP), Jean-Marc Gélinas (HC), Dr. Terry Koerner (HC)

From left to right : Michael Abbott (HC), Dr. Stephen Taylor (FARRP), Jean-Marc Gélinas (HC), Dr. Terry Koerner (HC)

The APEC / Health Canada / FARRP Capacity building initiative on food allergen management was held in Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada, from May 4-8, 2014. I was particularly honoured to contribute to the May 4th session dedicated to introduce the issue of food allergen management as an emerging area of concern that requires added attention by all stakeholders: food industry across the entire supply chain, food regulators and consumers. This session was followed by the Health Canada / FARRP Food Allergen Methodologies Workshop. Canada was supported by several APEC economies to enable participation of a broader audience of food regulators from the Asia Pacific Region to the workshop. A record attendance was registered for this session of the Workshop, which is now considered a regular hub gathering food allergen experts from around the world.

With some members of the US Codex capacity building team

With some members of the US Codex capacity building team

On May 14-15th, 2014, I was also honoured to contribute to the US Codex Partnership initiative, a capacity building activity gathering Codex representatives from around the world, in Washington DC (USA). I had the opportunity to discuss with the workshop participants the various steps that led us to develop and adopt by consensus the Codex strategic plan 2014-19. The workshop was an invaluable opportunity to meet and exchange views with Codex representatives and colleagues from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia/ Pacific and Africa on Codex activities, upcoming challenges and opportunities of enhanced collaboration.

An invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss with Codex peers and colleagues, from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean

An invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss with Codex peers and colleagues, from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean

سعيد بلقاء الزملاء المختصين بسلامة و جودة الغذاء بالشرق الأدنى

خلاصة مشاركتي في مؤتمر سلامة و جودة الأغذية المنظم في أبوظبي – دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة – ماي ٢٠١٤ –  Summary of my participation in the Food Safety and Quality Conference – Abu Dhabi, UAE, May 2014

أتاحت لي الفرصة للمشاركة في مؤتمر سلامة و جودة الغذاء المنعقد بأبوظبي، في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة ٧-٨ ماي/آذار. وقد سمحت لي هذه المشاركة من تقديم مهمة و إنجازات الدستور الغذائي في الفترة الاخيرة على الصعيد العالمي و أهميتها على الصعيد لإقليمي، لما تمكنه من فرص التوافق في صياغة و تبني معايير سلامة و جودة الغذاء في المنطقة. وقد تمكنت من خلال هذه المشاركة على تبادل الآراء و التجارب مع الزملاء المختصينن في المجالات المعنية و اصحاب المصلحة من الجامعيين و مصنعي الأغذية والمسؤولين في إدارات تقييس و مراقبة المنتجات الغذائية.  وقد أكدت للزملاءالكرام التزام كندا و التزامي شخصيا، كمرشح لرئاسة الهيئة، بدعم هيئة الدستور الغذائي عن طريق تكريس ريادة حيادية، غير منحازة و متمسكة بمبادئ التعاون و تسهيل اتفاق الآراء بين مختلف أعظاء الهيئة في صياغة معايير الغذاء. وفي وجه عوامل و محركات التغيير التي تواجهها سلامة وجودة الغذاء، أكدنا جميعاعلى ظرورة العمل سويا على دعم سلامة الغذاء ومعايير الجودة العالمية الى الامام

With Food Safety Colleagues of the NEA

Conference Program

Presentation made during the Conference : Codex Accomplishments and relevance to the Near East Region

English text : Great opportunity to meet and engage with food safety and quality peers and experts from the Near East Region

I was given the opportunity to participate in the Food and Safety and Quality conference held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 7-8 May 2014.

This participation allowed me to share the accomplishments of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, as the preeminent food international standard setter and the impacts of its standards at the regional level, with opportunities to drive convergence of food safety and quality standards across the Near East region.

Meeting with food safety and quality experts representing the broad stakeholder community from the region: academia, food processors and regulators, allowed me to hear and share views, experiences and insights into current challenges and opportunities in food standard development activities for the region. This visit allowed me to reiterate to colleagues from the region, Canada’s commitments, and mine as a candidate for the chair position of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to impartial and collaborative leadership, with a focus on fostering an open dialogue amongst the Codex membership that supports consensus development, as a core value guiding Codex operations – Another milestone in “Working together to Advance Global Food Safety and Quality”.

 

Great opportunity to work with colleagues from CCAFRICA at #CodexAlimentarius Colloquium

I had the opportunity to take part in the CCAFRICA Codex colloquium co-organised by the US Department of Agriculture, the US Codex office, the Coordination for CCAFRICA, the African Union and the Government of South Africa from March 18-20th, 2014. Delegates from over 15 countries of the region participated in the colloquium which aimed to enhance communication amongst member countries of the region to discuss key Codex files, challenges and agenda items for selected upcoming Codex committees. CCAFRICAI had the opportunity to contribute to the colloquium program through a keynote introduction outlining my views on key Codex strengths and accomplishments, as well as what I consider being our organisation’s upcoming challenges. I also contributed to a panel discussion, engaging the colloquium participants on these same topics with an emphasis on specific challenges relevant to the African region. Some of the points discussed included:

–  the duality of focus on food safety and food security in the African region and the contribution that Codex standards may bring to support food security in the continent ;

–  the level of development of Codex structures in CCAFRICA countries and its impacts on the effective participation in Codex standard development; –  the availability of data from the region, in response to calls for data from Codex scientific advisory bodies;

–  the impacts of private standards versus Codex standards

–  countries’ ability to adopt Codex standards and challenges related to dissemination of information related to Codex standards, guidelines and codes of practice to all food stakeholders in the region. Some of the recommendations brought forward by participants included the need:

–  to strengthen Codex national structures in countries of the region,

–  to enhance engagement of academic organisations from the region to support opportunities for data collection that reflect the regional/African countries’ context in response to calls for data that support Codex standard development and,

–  to continue enhancing awareness of the importance of Codex and Codex standards among the leadership of countries of the region

Participants had also the opportunity to engage in facilitated discussions on agenda items currently identified for some of the upcoming Codex committees: Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP), Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF) and Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR). Delegates were able to exchange their views on these items with the purpose to help them prepare national positions

Meeting with Codex peers and colleagues from Kenya, Guinea, Tanzania, Uganda, Morocco and Senegal

Meeting with Codex peers and colleagues from Kenya, Guinea, Tanzania, Uganda, Morocco and Senegal

The colloquium provided me with an excellent opportunity to listen directly and learn from colleagues and peers from CCAFRICA countries about their concerns, challenges and areas of focus related to food safety and quality in general and specifically in the context Codex standard development. It was also an opportunity to engage on a bilateral level with delegates from Cameroon and the regional Coordinator for Africa, Senegal, Guinea, Morocco, Gabon, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa.

I reiterate my thanks and appreciation to the Colloquium organizers and in particular to our gracious South-African hosts for a remarkable organisation.