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Ensuring the safety of imported food: Current approaches for imported food control in Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka











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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    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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    Imported food control in Bhutan
    National situation report – March 2019
    2020
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    Like many small and developing nation, Bhutan imports large proportion of its food supplies. In order for Bhutan to develop an effective imported food control system, the country situation analysis has been conducted to capture accurately the existing national imported food control situation in Bhutan. The key findings included: 1) Bhutan does not implement systematic and science-based import inspection and certification currently, except for few selected food commodities presenting high biosecurity risk; 2) key legislations and other important guidelines, permits, certificates, SOPs related to imported food control have been developed, but are yet to be implemented fully; 3) infrastructure at official border points needs to be strengthened to implement imported food control system effectively; 4) staff needs to be trained to implement import inspection and certification; and 5) an integrated database on food quality and safety surveillance, and import and export inspection and certification need to be developed to generate data for risk assessment and risk categorization. Detailed findings and priority recommended actions plans are documented in this report to strengthen imported food control in Bhutan taking the One Health approach.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Stakeholder consultations on imported food control situation in Myanmar
    Meeting summary report
    2018
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    Information on Myanmar’s national imported food control system was collected during previous projects and pre-consultation meetings with relevant government agencies. To build on these efforts and to validate the information collected, two one-day stakeholder consultations were held under the FAO project “Strengthening national capacity for risk-based food import control within a One Health Framework” in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 7 and 9 November 2017, respectively. The consultations were attended by 30 participants from various governmental stakeholders whose work is relevant to imported food controls. Myanmar Inspection and Testing Service stated that currently, all foods are considered high risk and individually assessed, mostly based on documentation. A structured risk prioritization of imported commodities and risk-based inspections at borders is lacking in the current system. The laboratories of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department report that quarantine capacities are best developed in Yangon, and are absent at other border points. Laboratory capacities are limited and cannot be used by different government departments. There is a significant illegal trade of livestock that are in poor health. Myanmar Livestock Association highlighted the need for investing in and modernizing the infrastructure for livestock. Myanmar Fisheries Association stated that the national demand for fish is increasing but there are concerns about the risks to domestic fish stocks due to the illegal fish trade. Based on the critical issues raised by each agency during the consultations, immediate action recommendations include: 1) recognizing the significant illegal food import trade and addressing it in future actions; 2) improving plant and animal food clearances in line with international Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures; 3) developing procedures for sampling and inspecting imported foods; 4) developing and using a risk-based priority commodities list; and 5) improving quarantine and testing laboratory capacities. A national situation report with strengths, gaps and potential areas for improvement of the imported food control system in Myanmar was compiled by stakeholders in early 2018.

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