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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

National Food Safety Programs and Initiatives

It appears many countries are proposing food safety “improvement” initiatives these days. Are these initiatives as good as they may seem? All countries expect companies wishing to export food to them to comply with their “new rules”. Are these rules truly intended for the assurance of food/consumer safety or are they simply intended as trade barriers? 

In a market that must be global, having insular national initiatives appears to be counter-productive. Unless the national initiatives are supported by national self-sufficiency, the raging trend of national food safety initiatives is bound to pose serious challenges in terms of the sufficiency and variety of available food. Perhaps the citizens of each country must learn to eat only what can be produced in that country. This opens up other considerations: Climate/conditions or change; lengths of growing seasons; increasing urbanization; the decline of agriculture and natural stocks in some jurisdictions; lack of education in others; etc.

The world needs a global coalition with grass-root involvement; not insular and impractical initiatives imposed by a privileged few. 

Agencies such as the World Health Organization/CODEX Alimentarius, United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Food Program, etc., already exist to drive needed harmonization. Education needs to be provided along with enforcement but education needs to be given higher priority.

All nations already subscribe to international law that provides a basis for any required enforcement of civility. This international law does not preclude the enforcement of each country's national laws. The call is for a true global consideration in the enforcement of national laws with a strong sense of deliberate global collaboration in all aspects pertaining to the production, provision and protection of food for the benefit of consumers everywhere.

One thing appears certain: World food problems (food supply inequity, food distribution constraints, food fraud, food safety problems, etc.) are continuing to mount and some things now seen as grand global initiatives will soon be small talk. What the world needs are truly collaborative, non-exclusive, broad scoped strategies that are free of counter-productive hidden agendas.

Related Post: 

The New Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) -

Please add your thoughts . . .

Information References:



European Commission- Review of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004

Japan - Food Safety Commission

 Food Safety Program

India- FSSAI – Amendments to Regulations

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

For a quick look at food safety programs in other countries (in Africa, Asia, South America), refer to:
Global and Local: Food Safety Around the World, Center for Science in the Public Interest:

Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is the Food Industry Chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection

1 comment:

  1. In one of the forums discussing this topic, David Anguzza provided this comment:

    “There is too much to be said for Human error and human intention. The real question becomes whether or not we can truly "police" a global food safety system at the level of implementation.”

    The question is legitimate. David presented some good ideas such as consumer education and the suggestion regarding food security (food safety) that: “This concept needs to be approached from the consumer up to the level of production and not the other way around.” He cautioned correctly that the magnitude of the goal must not be underestimated.

    Although the goal may appear to be overwhelming, industry stakeholders cannot afford to assume a position of surrender. Rather, it is reasonable to propose (as does GCSE-Food & Health Protection) that something can and must be done. That “something” must be carefully considered. There are several factors to consider: the need for proper education; proper response to scientific discoveries; emergence of new problems; human errors; human intentions and agendas; fraud; sufficiency and efficiency of regulatory enforcement; trustworthiness of industry self-scrutiny; business survival; social pressures; national economies; inequalities among the various countries; resource availability; unpredictability of climate conditions; industry and international cooperation and collaboration; et cetera, et cetera. In recognition of what needs to be done, GCSE-Food & Health Protection has several proposals and programs designed to drive these kinds of considerations as well as for the implementation of practical solutions.