Regulators meets in Ireland to debate food safety issues

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

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

Opened by Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy, the event featured 17 regulatory agencies. The countries includes: 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 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Codex Alimentarius Commission.


Ensuring safe food

Sessions included sharing information on the systems in place to identify risks and threats, a reflection on lessons learned from some major food safety and food fraud incidents and examples of best practices and common pitfalls to avoid.

CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Dr. Hisham bin Saad Aljadhey, chaired one of the sessions. Participants reviewed best practices in communication during crises from the perspective of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), and the communication system on risks and crises of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

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

Naughton said she hoped the event would provide opportunities to ensure safe food by protecting the health and wellbeing of consumers.

“As our food supply chains grow increasingly complex, international relations and coordination play such a crucial role in maintaining food safety. By working together, our countries and organizations can ensure the safety, integrity and availability of global food supplies,” she said.

“It is vital that the World Food Safety Day message: ‘Food safety is everyone’s business,’ filters down to every stakeholder – growers, processors, transporters, stores, distributors, sellers, and servers – so that they continue to play their part.”

International collaboration, play an important role in preparing for, and responding to, food safety incidents.

“By implementing systems that identify signals of potential issues and sharing information, we can take a proactive approach to assessing and managing risk in the food system, which ultimately protects the health and wellbeing of consumers worldwide. Collaboration and knowledge sharing among international food safety agencies is key to learning from each other and continuously improving our responses to future crises, ultimately strengthening global food safety systems.”

Pamela Byrne, chief executive of FSAI

Although, globalization in the food production chain has allowed access to new markets. It is also important to note, that any failure in the food chain could have repercussions on the health of the consumers to whom the batch produced reaches.

Different problems have taught us that it is better to invest in prevention. Which is why at The Rosmar Group our sanitation consultant advisors will help you to solve and generate valuable solutions for any company in the agri-food sector. 


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