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Partnering to Enhance Food Safety in the Asia-Pacific

September 11, 2015

By: Melissa San Miguel, Director, Global Strategies

Pop quiz: Where do 21 of the world’s most dynamic economies from both sides of the Pacific gather to share experiences and advance commitments on topics ranging from food safety to trade liberalization to disaster preparedness, women’s economic empowerment, and more?

Answer: The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, aka APEC (extra credit to anyone who can figure out why the acronym stops at C).

Why am I asking? Because I want to share a bit about what makes APEC so unique, and why GMA has been participating actively in the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) since its founding in 2007.

APEC’s mission is to leverage its members’ economic interdependence to create broad-based, sustainable economic growth and enhance regional integration. In 2007, APEC leaders agreed to establish the FSCF (co-chaired by Australia and China) and work toward strengthening science-based food safety standards and practices in the region and to facilitate the trade of safe food all along regional value chains. GMA has participated actively in the FSCF since its establishment, including as a founding member of the FSCF’s public-private Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN). At a 2014 FSCF High-Level Regulator-Industry Dialogue hosted in Beijing, GMA President Pam Bailey highlighted trade associations’ unique capacity to foster industry-government engagement that can facilitate development of effective, modern food safety systems.

Just last week, I returned from representing GMA at the FSCF and related meetings in Cebu, Philippines. To follow up on the 2014 High-Level Dialogue, the U.S. government sponsored a PTIN workshop in Cebu bringing together more than 60 participants from government, industry, and academia to share experiences and discuss the value of robust industry-government consultation for enhancing the quality of regulations, facilitating implementation, and spreading awareness to stakeholders. The group also agreed on the critical role trade associations play by aggregating and amplifying industry input about the scientific basis for and operational impact of regulations.

This workshop is just one of the many ways the PTIN has made concrete strides toward its goal of facilitating trade and protecting public health. To date, the PTIN has:

  • Conducted 24 capacity building workshops and trainings benefitting nearly 1,500 people;
  • Designed food safety curricula available online, free of charge (one on Hazard Analysis at Critical Control Points [HAACP] and the other on aquaculture)
  • Partnered with the World Bank to test and replicate the PTIN model through the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP); and
  • Developed a “PTIN Network” of over 600 experts and food safety professionals from all 21 APEC economies and a number of non-APEC economies.

GMA looks forward to continuing to contribute to this growing community of practice that is so successfully building the capacity of stakeholders to apply international best practices and standards in food safety management from production to consumption.

Learn more about the PTIN here: http://fscf-ptin.apec.org/

 

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