UNIDO working to boost food safety knowledge in West Africa

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Thirty people in Guinea-Bissau have received training on HACCP and ISO 22000 as part of a project funded by the European Union.

The virtual training covered Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system (HACCP) and the ISO standard on food safety management systems.

The West Africa Competitiveness Program (WACOMP) is implemented by the United Nations’ Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and International Trade Centre (ITC).

Training was available to all those participating in the program. In total, 60 people attended the session from nine countries in the region: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia and Togo.

UNIDO and West Africa
Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO’s representative to Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Cabo Verde and Mauritania, said: “Training sessions on HACCP and ISO 22000 are crucial to provide capacity-building in the fields of food safety assurance and management for people responsible for performing conformity assessment activities, and technicians involved in food safety and quality.”

WACOMP is funded by a €120 million ($145 million) contribution under the 11th European Development Fund and includes one regional and 16 country components. The objective is to strengthen competitiveness of West African countries and enhance their integration into the regional and international trading system.

Another project overseen by UNIDO in West Africa is looking at the use of voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programs to improve food safety.

Authorities are considering or using such programs to better inform their risk profiling of businesses and more effectively target resources within national food control systems.

The project in Mali and Senegal, which runs until October 2023, focuses on the horticulture sector and promotes public-public and public-private collaboration. It is related to a Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) pilot project on the use of vTPA programs in Belize and Honduras in Central America.

Other capacity building work
Meanwhile, Japan is to work with Bangladesh in the first Japanese technical assistance project with the country in the sector of food safety.

The aim of the 60-month project is to enhance the control system by strengthening the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority’s (BFSA) regulatory capacity.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the effort will enhance food safety control through strengthening management systems in implementing and reporting food safety inspections, establishing a food safety monitoring and supervision system, boosting the coordination of food inspection laboratories, and supporting improved consumer awareness of food safety.

“In Bangladesh, there is a growing concern about the impact of food contamination on health. The challenge is to establish a system to ensure the safety of agricultural and food products at each stage of the supply chain, and to establish a monitoring system to accurately grasp the impact of health risk,” according to the project brief.

Finally, the Center of Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) had a roundtable earlier this month to present draft findings of a legal framework review on food security in Albania.

The event was part of an initiative to better food safety in Albania through the analysis, policy evaluation, improvement of the legal framework, advocacy, and awareness-raising of producers and consumers. The project is financially supported by the European Union and is being implemented in partnership with the Albanian Food Industry until September 2021.

Albania has another project focusing on food safety which runs until January 2023. It is also funded by the EU. The consortium is led by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and includes the Finnish Food Authority, Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Creative Business Solutions in Albania.

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