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Improved Food Control Systems for Greater Global Food Safety - GCP/GLO/520/USA










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    Book (stand-alone)
    Assuring Food Safety and Quality. Guidelines for Strengthening National Food Control Systems
    Food and Nutrition Paper 76
    2003
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    Effective national food control systems are essential to protect the health and safety of domestic consumers. They are also critical in enabling countries to assure the safety and quality of their foods entering international trade and to ensure that imported foods conform to national requirements. The new global environment for food trade places considerable obligations on both importing and exporting countries to strengthen their food control systems and to implement and enforce risk-based foo d control strategies. Consumers are taking unprecedented interest in the way food is produced, processed and marketed, and are increasingly calling for their Governments to accept greater responsibility for food safety and consumer protection. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have a strong interest in promoting national food control systems that are based upon scientific principles and guidelines, and which address all sect ors of the food chain. This is particularly important for developing countries as they seek to achieve improved food safety, quality and nutrition, but will require a high level of political and policy commitment. In many countries, effective food control is undermined by the existence of fragmented legislation, multiple jurisdictions, and weaknesses in surveillance, monitoring and enforcement. These guidelines seek to provide advice to national authorities on strategies to strengthen food contr ol systems to protect public health, prevent fraud and deception, avoid food adulteration and facilitate trade. They will enable authorities to choose the most suitable options for their food control systems in terms of legislation, infrastructure and enforcement mechanisms. The document delineates the overarching principles of food control systems, and provides examples of possible infrastructures and approaches for national systems. The target users of these Guidelines are national authorities concerned with ensuring food safety and quality in the interests of public health and consumer protection. The Guidelines will also be of assistance to a range of other stakeholders including consumer groups, industry and trade organizations, farmer groups and any other groups or associations that influence national policy in this area.
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    Meeting
    Addressing Food Safety Challenges of the Asia-Pacific Region 2018
    In the Asia and the Pacific region, food safety is important from the dual perspectives of improving public health and nutrition and enhancing trade in food commodities. Concerns of consumers on the fitness for consumption of food produced and traded across borders needs to be allayed through effective risk-based systems that assure safety and quality throughout the food chain. The paper discusses the key challenges being faced, some solutions, and potential partnerships (private sector, civil society, South-South triangular cooperation, development partners) that can be used to enhance food safety systems in the region. It describes FAO’s contribution to the strengthening of technical capacity to implement risk-based approaches in critical areas such as food inspection, monitoring, and surveillance; laboratory analysis; import control and strengthening the evidence base required for the framing of rules, regulations and procedures. It explains, with examples, how improved food-control measures and codes of practice can be implemented at every step of the chain, enabling smallholders to produce safer food and gain access to markets. It underscores the importance of implementing FAO’s action plan for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through technical capacity development, evidence generation, governance and dissemination of good practices. The paper dwells on FAO's One Health Regional Initiative, currently being rolled out, as an expanded multidisciplinary opportunity to demonstrate benefits to agriculture, food systems and the environment in the region. It argues that the adoption of voluntary and international food standards, especially from Codex, can lead to multiple wins for the consumer, for the private sector and the government in the form of safer and more nutritious food, increased innovation and trade and better public health. Ministers are invited to advise FAO on areas of focus in the development of national capacities in core technical areas of food safety and cohesive actions to harmonize food safety standards in the Asia-Pacific region to safeguard public health and promote trade.
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    Document
    Report of the IOTC Performance Review Panel 2009
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    In response to calls from the intertiol community for a review of the performance of Regiol Fisheries Magement Organisations (RFMOs), the Indian Ocean Tu Commission (IOTC) agreed in 2007 to implement a process of Performance Review. The IOTC formed a Review Panel, consisting of an independent legal expert, an independent scientific expert, six IOTC Members and a non-governmental organisations observer, which concluded its report to the Commission in January 2009. The Panel’s review was based on the criteria developed as a result of a joint meeting of tu RFMOs, Kobe, Japan, 2007 and concentrated on the following issues: Adequacy of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Indian Ocean Tu Commission (IOTC Agreement) relative to current principles of fisheries magement, Consistency between scientific advice and conservation and magement measures adopted, ?? Effectiveness of control measures established by the IOTC; and Efficiency and transparency of fincial and administrative magement. KEY FINDINGS OF THE PERFORMANCE REVIEW PANEL I. The legal framework of the IOTC Agreement: The alysis of the legal text of the IOTC Agreement identified a series of gaps and weaknesses which can be summarized as follows: The IOTC Agreement is outdated as it does not take account of modern principles for fisheries magement. The absence of concepts such as the precautiory approach and an ecosystem based approach to fisheries magement are considered to be major weaknesses. The lack of clear delinea tion of the functions of the Commission or flag State and port State obligations provide examples of significant impediments to the effective and efficient functioning of the Commission. The limitation on participation to this RFMO, deriving from IOTC’s legal status as an Article XIV Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) body, conflicts with provisions of United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) and prevents major fishing players in the Indian Ocean from discharging their obligations to cooperate in the work of the Commission. The IOTC relationship to FAO, most notably in the budgetary context, negatively affects the efficiency of the work of the Commission, with neither Members nor the Secretariat in full control of the budget. This also raises questions relating to the level of transparency in the Commission’s fincial arrangements. ????? The Panel recommends that the IOTC Agreement either be amended or replaced by a new instrument. The decision on whether to amend the Agreement or replace it should be made taking into account the full suite of deficiencies identified in the Review. II. The criteria-based alysis of the performance of the Commission: The alysis based on the Performance Review criteria highlighted numerous weaknesses in the workings of the Commission, of which the most important have been identified as: High levels of uncertainty The quantitative data provided for many of the stocks under the IOTC Agreement is very limited. This is due to lack of compliance, a large proportion of catches being taken by artisal fisheries, for which there is very limited information, and lack of cooperation of non-Members of the IOTC. The data submitted to the Commission is frequently of poor quality. This contributes to high levels of uncertainty concerning the status of many stocks under the IOTC mandate. Poor record of compliance and limited tools for addressing non-compliance Low levels of compliance with IOTC measures and obligations a re commonplace. The Commission to date has taken very limited actions to remedy this situation – there are currently no sanctions/pelties for non-compliance in place. Moreover, the list of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels applies to non-Members only. Special requirements of developing States Many developing States are experiencing serious capacity/infrastructure constraints which impede their ability to comply with their obligations, especially in terms of data collection, repor ting and processing. A number of developing States also lack appropriate scientific expertise and, even where such expertise is available, budgetary constraints limit their participation in Commission meetings, particularly those of the Scientific Committee and working parties. III. In light of these findings, and in addition to the specific recommendations made against each of the criteria, the Review Panel draws the Commission’s attention to the following overarching issues Uncertainty Address ing uncertainty in data and in the stock assessments is one of the most fundamental and urgent actions required to improve the performance of the Commission. This will require a variety of actions of which the most important are: application of scientific assessment methods appropriate to the data/information available, establishing a regiol scientific observer programme to enhance data collection for target and non-target species, and improving data collection and reporting capacity of developi ng States. Also engaging non-Members actively fishing in the area is of critical importance to addressing uncertainty. Equally important are developing a framework to take action in the face of uncertainty in scientific advice and enhancement of functioning and participation in the Scientific Committee and subsidiary bodies. Compliance It is imperative to strengthen the ability of the Compliance Committee to monitor non-compliance and advise the Commission on actions which might be taken in resp onse to non-compliance. Sanction mechanisms for non-compliance and provisions for follow-up on infringements should be developed. The Resolution on the establishment of the IUU list should be amended to allow for the inclusion of vessels flagged to Members. Special requirements of developing States Increased fincial support for capacity building should be provided to developing States. The Commission should enhance already existing funding mechanisms to build developing States’ capacity for data collection, processing and reporting, as well as technical and scientific capabilities. In this context, the possibility of establishing a special fund to facilitate participation in the Commission’s work, including subsidiary groups should be considered. Strengthening the Secretariat’s role/ability to undertake targeted capacity building should be explored.

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