Regulators meet in Ireland to discuss food safety issues

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has hosted national regulators to discuss how to prepare for food safety crises and manage incidents.

It was the first face-to-face meeting of the International Food Authority Forum (IHFAF) since the COVID-19 pandemic. The group was established in 2020 by FSAI, the Saudi Food and Drug Administration and the Food Standards Authority of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).

The event, which was opened by Minister for Public Health, Welfare and National Medicines Strategy Hildegarde Norton, was attended by 17 regulators from countries including Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, China, Morocco, Singapore, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The forum was also attended by officials from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Ensuring safe food
Sessions will include information sharing on systems in place to identify risks and threats, discussion of lessons learned from some major food safety and food fraud incidents, best practices to avoid and common pitfalls. includes examples of

Dr Hisham bin Saad Aljahey, CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Administration, chaired one of the sessions. Participants will explore best practices in crisis communication in terms of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) risk and crisis communication systems. bottom. .

Saudi officials also met with officials from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and the Singapore Food Authority.

Norton said he hopes the event will provide an opportunity to ensure safe food by protecting the health and welfare of consumers.

“As our food supply chains become more and more complex, international relations and international coordination play a very important role in maintaining food safety. can ensure the security, integrity and availability of the world’s food supply,” she said.

“The message of World Food Safety Day, ‘Food safety is everyone’s business,’ has permeated all stakeholders, including producers, processors, carriers, stores, distributors, distributors, servers, etc. It is vital that stakeholders continue to play their part.”

Attendees underscored the importance of continued efforts to understand and address emerging risks and strengthen food safety systems.

IHFAF assists food regulators in adapting to changes in consumer behavior, food production practices, technology and environmental conditions that affect food safety and quality. It also aims to ensure that decisions and regulatory actions support consumer protection.

knowledge sharing
FSAI CEO Pamela Byrne emphasized the important role that international cooperation can play in preparing for and responding to food safety incidents.

“In the face of food safety crises, we are united and stronger. It is crucial in sharing our expertise and experience to respond quickly and effectively to potential new risks and threats to the world,” she said.

“By implementing systems to identify and share information about potential problems, we can take a proactive approach to assessing and managing risks in the food system, ultimately helping consumers around the world. Cooperation and knowledge sharing among international food safety agencies can help us learn from each other, continuously improve our response to future crises, and ultimately improve global food safety. It’s the key to hardening the system.”

The IHFAF’s 3rd Annual Meeting was held virtually by Australia in March 2022. Presentations were made by FAO, the Danish Veterinary and Food Authority, the Food Authority of Singapore and the Food Standards Agency.

The IHFAF is distinct from the Head of Food Safety Authority (HoA) which represents the European body responsible for food safety risk management. The HoA meets twice a year, where he usually presides over the European Council and organizes working groups on open data, private guarantee schemes and food fraud. The latest meeting was held in Stockholm earlier this month.

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