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Stakeholder consultations on imported food control situation in Myanmar

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    National stakeholder consultation on strengthening national capacity for risk-based food import control within One Health framework in Sri Lanka
    Meeting summary report
    2018
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    The consultation meeting “Strengthening national capacity for risk-based food import control within a One Health Framework” was held on 30 November 2017 at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The main objective of the consultation was to validate the information presented in the draft report entitled “National situation of imported food controls in Sri Lanka”, and to identify the priority actions to be considered while developing a roadmap for effective risk-based imported food control in the country. Thirty-two participants attended the consultation, including high-level officials from imported food control-relevant government agencies, stakeholder groups and resource people, provided input during the plenary and group discussions following the presentation of the national situation report. Group discussions were held on four focus areas: Sri Lanka Customs, Plant Quarantine, Animal Quarantine and Sri Lanka Standards Institution. Requirements identified by the Customs Department included improving the Customs database so that information can be shared with all of the relevant stakeholders, and establishing an alert system for high-risk foods. Plant and animal quarantine groups stated the need for upgrading laboratory capacities (both technical and human), strengthening pre-border requirements with required certificates, and providing guidance on the approval of certain commodities. Requirements required by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution included improving existing regulations and standards to address globally emerging food safety issues, conducting risk-based country profiling, setting up a unit for surveillance and import trade analysis, improving communication mechanisms by establishing information sharing systems among stakeholders on the results of the sample analysis and certification systems. In order to strengthen the existing imported food control system, immediate actions based on these requirements are recommended and include: 1) organizing training sessions on risk categorization for food safety competent authorities, quarantine officers and custom officials; and 2) ensuring the use of a risk categorization list, developing standard operating procedures for sampling and inspection at the borders and organizing training sessions on imported food inspection for relevant officials; and 4) developing a single-window, information-sharing system among relevant agencies and importers. A roadmap for effective risk-based imported food control in Sri Lanka has been drafted, and a consultation with relevant high-level stakeholder representatives to validate and agree on the roadmap is suggested as a next step.
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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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    Ensuring the safety of imported food: Current approaches for imported food control in Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka 2018
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    Food products have been the third most valuable commodity group traded internationally, and imports constitute a significant proportion of the food supplies of developing countries in particular. FAO Members have expressed the need for technical support and guidance to achieve effective national imported food control systems. In 2017, FAO collaborated with the Governments of Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka under the project entitled “Strengthening national capacity for risk-based food import control within a One Health framework” to support the countries in improving their existing systems of national imported food controls. National situation reports of the countries were developed to identify and document their systems’ current status with their strengths and any improvements needed. Findings of the national situation reports have indicated that there are common approaches and tools that can be used to address the needs in all four countries, despite the differences in their levels of development, human capacities and institutional structures. The present document has compiled all four national situation reports and summarized some approaches and tools that would be applicable to most developing countries in the world, including the: 1) use of risk categorization to prioritize commodity and hazard combinations to create a concise and easy reference for border control officials so that high-risk and high-interest food items will receive more attention than other food items; 2) nationwide dissemination and use of standard operating procedures for risk-based inspections for imported foods to maintain consistency and transparency; and 3) systematic written communication mechanism among food safety competent authorities and relevant border control officials on importer profiles, the abovementioned risk categorization results, and required documents to achieve effective risk-based management for imported foods.

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