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Background

The APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) was formally established under the APEC Sub-Committee for Standards and Conformance (SCSC) in the Hunter Valley, Australia, April 2007. APEC member economies agreed to work together to build robust food safety systems to accelerate progress on harmonising food standards with international standards to improve public health and facilitate trade. APEC member economies also agreed to work together to strengthen capacity building activities and information sharing by signing the Hunter Valley Statement. Download the Hunter Valley statement (pdf 69 kb).

 

The FSCF is a forum of food safety regulators which seeks to build robust food safety systems in the region that are consistent with the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of the World Trade Organization. It is co-chaired by Australia (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) and China (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China, AQSIQ). As Co-Chairs, Australia and China are responsible for providing leadership to the FSCF and the FSCF Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN); providing the FSCF Secretariat; organising FSCF meetings and associated activities; reviewing the work and future direction of the FSCF; and reporting on the work of the FSCF to APEC through the SCSC.

 

Since the FSCF and its PTIN were formed, food safety has been recognised as a high priority for APEC. APEC Trade Ministers and APEC Economic Leaders have reinforced the increasing importance of food safety capacity building in the APEC region and endorsed the work of the FSCF and its PTIN.

 

Member economies of the FSCF will continue to ensure that food safety is considered a key element of food security as identified in the Niigata Declaration in 2010.

 

Strategic goals

At the FSCF meeting in 2007 it was agreed that the FSCF goals were to assist APEC member economies to achieve:
  • Transparent information-sharing and communication networks that provide accurate and timely information to consumers and producers on food safety.
  • Food safety regulatory systems within economies, including food inspection/assurance and certification systems that are consistent with members’ rights and obligations under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreements of the World Trade Organisation; and  are harmonized, to the extent possible, with international standards (such as Codex, OIE, IPPC).
  • Enhanced skills and human resource capacities to enable the development of national food safety regulatory frameworks that are harmonised to the extent possible, with international standards.
One of the key roles undertaken by the FSCF has been prioritising food safety capacity building needs by APEC member economies. This process identified a broad range of areas where capacity needed development, both in technical areas, but also in areas of organisational management and legislative systems. The extensive list of capacity building priorities have been grouped into four broad areas and these include:
  • food safety regulatory systems 
  • food inspection and certification systems
  • technical skills and human resource capacity
  • information and communication networks.

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