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Trade and food safety standards

Digital technologies for trade and food safety











​FAO. 2021. Trade and food safety standards: Digital technologies for trade and food safety. FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme. Accra.



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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Digitalization of the food control system to measure food safety in Georgia 2024
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    Effective data collection during food control procedures by the public authorities is essential to ensure food safety and compliance with regulations. Using modern technology plays a vital role in acquiring information from food businesses, food control inspections, and other food control actions. Digital systems allow real-time assessment of the current food safety compliance levels, permit establishing baselines and trend analyses, and enable targeted actions as a response to the food control results. A well-functioning digital system can provide results from several food safety aspects, pointing out where there is room for improvement giving the food control authority tools to strive for better effectiveness of food control and food safety. Georgia, a country that earlier applied mainly a non-digital environment to collect and analyze food control data, has developed a digital system to modernize data acquisition in recent years. Until 2017 the National Food Agency received food control results from the regions on spreadsheets and text files. The collection of the data from the files was ineffective, cumbersome, and prone to mistakes. Authorities experienced problems in receiving timely data throughout the food chain including information on registrations of food businesses, inspection results, and any other relevant food safety data. This impaired the understanding of the food safety situation in Georgia and the development of food control. The new system, which has been in use since 2017 in the capital and since then expanded to the whole country. It contains up-to-date food safety data on food businesses and compliance. Georgia is further developing the digital system to include more information from the food chain, which will permit comprehensive analyses of the food safety state and food control effectiveness. This document was developed within the framework of the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the University of Helsinki collaboration on the “Call for collecting good practices in improving food safety management”, launched in June 2022. This call aimed to empower organizations to showcase innovative solutions and good practices to improve specific aspects of food safety management in Europe and Central Asia. It facilitates experience sharing and co-learning amongst the Member countries in the region. Five good practices were identified under three categories:  i) Measuring the effectiveness of food control; ii) Solutions to support small-scale producers to comply with food safety requirements; iii)  Use of digital solutions to improve food safety management.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Digital excellence in agriculture report
    FAO-ITU Regional contest on good practices advancing digital agriculture in Europe and Central Asia
    2023
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    This report is the outcome of the Digital Excellence in Agriculture: FAO-ITU regional contest on good practices advancing digital agriculture in Europe and Central Asia, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Office for Europe and Central Asia and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Offices for Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Launched in November 2020, the contest sought to identify, showcase and celebrate good practices and innovative solutions that have proven successful in advancing the digital transformation of agriculture in the regions. With nearly 200 applicants from 36 countries in the regions, the initiative revealed a diverse, dynamic and future-thinking ecosystem of innovators and problem-solvers. This report summarizes the main trends in digital services and products, the most important technologies used, as well as the difficulties and challenges that arise in the development of digital agricultural applications. Presenting the 29 finalists, the report shares the key challenges applicants are addressing, the digital technologies they are using to succeed, their journeys and their plans for the near future based on the information provided. The report also analyses how the technology infrastructure, the regulatory and business environment, the availability of human capital, and the COVID-19 pandemic represented both challenges and opportunities for digital agriculture practitioners. It provides useful information for developers and service providers already active in this field or planning to enter it, as well as guidance for decision-makers on possible points of intervention.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Feasibility study for application of digital technologies for improved traceability and transparency along the agrifood value chains
    Case studies in the Near East and North Africa Region
    2023
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    “Agrifood value chains of small and medium-sized producers in the Near East and North Africa region have the potential to generate more value through improved access to high-value markets. Limited logistics capacity in the region, coupled with lack of access to continuous cold chain, has resulted in weak supply chain management, high level of food loss, lack of compliance with food quality and safety standards; information asymmetries; and unfair value distribution, affecting income and livelihood of small and medium-sized producers. Improving traceability and transparency along the agrifood value chains can help building consumers' trust by better tracking the origin of food, identifying, detecting and mitigating the impact of food safety and quality issues in a timely manner and enhancing price visibility and information sharing on value distribution in each stage of the value chain. Digital technologies can play an important role in enhancing traceability and transparency by ensuring the collection of comprehensive, consistent and reliable data along the supply chain, real-time tracking, easy aggregation, integration, analysis and sharing of data. Despite the recognition of game changing potential, few studies have analysed the feasibility of application of these technologies to improve traceability and transparency of value chains, from farm-gate to market, in the region. To fill this gap in knowledge, this study was conducted to understand the digital landscape in the region, examine barriers and incentives for uptake of these technologies and to propose solutions that can improve the adoption rate and sustainability of digital technologies for small and medium-sized producers.”

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