The APEC FSCF held its fourth meeting and associated suite of events from 10 – 13 April 2013, in the margins of the APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM2), Surabaya, Indonesia.
Co-chaired by Australia and China, the 4th APEC FSCF meeting and associated events were highly successful with strong engagement from participating member economies.
Workshop on educating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on food safety standards (led by Indonesia)
A series of presentations were aimed at educating SMEs in applying food safety standards, regulatory approaches in enhancing food safety standards, and appropriate communication and training strategies in enhancing SMEs capacity building.
This workshop was supported by the leadership of Indonesia’s National Agency for Drug and Food Control (NADFC), and included more than 60 delegates from the NADFC, and the Ministries of Trade, Economic Affairs, Industry and Marine Affairs and Fisheries. An emphasis on the role of SMEs in food safety is important in the APEC region as the majority of food production is carried out by SMEs.
FSCF PTIN steering group meeting
The FSCF PTIN steering group is chaired by the FSCF co-chairs and administered by the United States. At its face-to-face meeting, the steering group reviewed a range of activities that have been undertaken. The steering group endorsed the PTIN Review of Progress document and submitted this document to the FSCF.
The FSCF PTIN also highlighted its future activities. These include five workshops planned and funded over the next three years under the APEC Multi Year Project (MYP) on Building Convergence in Food Safety Regulatory Systems. Workshops will build capacity in laboratory testing and food inspection systems.
Food Safety Incident Network (FSIN) workshop
This workshop was organised and implemented by Australia (FSANZ) and involved approximately 90 delegates from 16 member economies, as well as participants from a range of government, industry, academic and other organisations.
The purpose of this workshop was to develop the FSIN for the APEC region. The FSIN will act as the Asia Pacific region component of the World Health Organizations’ International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), and its purpose is to encourage communication and information sharing between regulatory agencies, industry and other stakeholders in APEC economies to prepare for and respond to food safety incidents. Australia will act as Secretariat for the first year of the FSIN, and Chile will take on the role of secretariat in the second year.
A series of presentations was delivered over four sessions dealing with information sharing during food safety incidents and implementing an FSIN incident response mechanism.
The key recommendations include building on existing communication networks and processes; continuing to support food safety incident management capacity building activities; and developing a work plan to progress FSIN identified priorities.
4th meeting of the APEC FSCF
The meeting built on the work already undertaken by the FSCF since its establishment in 2007 and proved very successful, with a number of high level outcomes.
Approximately 80 delegates from 16 APEC member economies participated in the meeting, as well as representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) / INFOSAN, the World Bank, GS1 and ASEAN.
Delegates welcomed the progress that has been made since the establishment of the FSCF across a range of areas. Progress was notable, particularly in: raising the profile of food safety capacity building between APEC member economies in its five priority areas; rolling out freely available supply chain management and aquaculture training modules in collaboration with the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP); continuing collaboration with the GFSP and the World Bank in developing pilot training programs in the APEC region.
The FSCF endorsed an action plan to implement the APEC Regulatory Cooperation Plan, which was recommended by APEC Ministers in 2012. This action plan sets out the steps by which the FSCF will promote alignment to relevant international standards, and consistency with WTO obligations. The action plan will focus on two areas: export certificates and pesticide Maximum Residue Limits. The FSCF also committed to new collaboration with the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum and continued cooperation with the GFSP.
The FSCF agreed upon a set of forward recommendations for the next two years and will meet again in the Philippines as part of the APEC FSCF suite of events in 2015.
The Surabaya Statement was agreed to by the broader APEC FSCF, and signed by its co-chairs, and presented to the chair of the Sub-Committee of Standards and Conformance (SCSC) for endorsement.
At the 2013 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting on 20-21 April 2013, in their final statement
recognised the efforts made in the area of SMEs, welcomed the establishment of the FSIN, and the continued efforts of the APEC FSCF and its PTIN towards the development of food safety capacity in the region, contributing to the alignment of domestic regulations with international standards.