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Food Industry Asia partners with ADB in food safety

Released at: 16:35, 27/09/2017

Food Industry Asia partners with ADB in food safety

Photo: FIA

Food safety highlighted in Mekong Sub-region seminar on sustainable agriculture value chains.

by Khanh Chi

Food Industry Asia (FIA) has recently pledged to support the six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in building capacity and strengthening food safety systems. Representing the private sector, FIA will bring together governments, policymakers, and industry leaders through high-level dialogue to drive the food safety agenda.

The commitment was made at the “GMS: Towards Inclusive, Safe, and Sustainable Agriculture Value Chains” conference, held recently in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which culminated with The Second GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting (GMS AMM-2).

The GMS comprises Cambodia, China (specifically Yunnan province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The AMM-2 brought together the agriculture ministers from these countries, who each endorsed the GMS Strategy and the Siem Reap Action Plan for Promoting Safe and Environment-Friendly Agro-Based Value Chains in the GMS for 2018-2022.

Working with the GMS Working Group on Agriculture (GMS WGA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), FIA engaged in a series of discussions with senior officials of the GMS ministries of agriculture, including a formal public-private dialogue and roundtable.

The food industry body also facilitated a policy forum on food safety and sustainable management of land and water for the production of a reliable supply of safe and quality agri-food products, which highlighted the role of agri-food value chains in the development of the sub-region, particularly its potential in agri-tourism.

“Our ambition is to have strong collaboration between the private and public sectors in the GMS through sustainable multi-stakeholder partnerships designed to improve food safety standards through a range of capacity-building efforts,” said Mr. Matt Kovac, FIA’s Executive Director.

In support of these efforts, representatives from FIA member companies Cargill, Nestlé, GS1, and the Waters Corporation participated in the AMM-2 and related discussions.

Mr. Kim Keat Ng, Chairman of FIA’s Science and Technical Committee, read out a statement at the AMM-2 detailing the commitment made by FIA. He highlighted a number of areas for cooperation that are expected to immediately yield positive results, including traceability, the establishment of mechanisms for laboratory capacity-building, food safety risk communication, the promotion of the harmonization of food safety standards, and enhancing national legislation and regulations on food safety.

The FIA, according to Mr. Ng, recognizes that a regional approach to food policy, driven by private and public interests, will enhance protection of consumers and suppliers in the GMS, support the scaling up of productivity and product quality, and so facilitate product marketing.

“Using the power of partnership, FIA and the GMS WGA have the opportunity to improve food safety in the region through multi-stakeholder efforts, with the adoption of a risk-based approach built on successful models that address the whole supply chain, while simultaneously promoting a climate for sustainable growth,” the statement read.

Food Industry Asia (FIA) is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2010 to enable major food manufacturers to speak with one voice on complex food industry issues in the areas of health and nutrition, harmonization of standards, and food safety. The organization acts as a policy and regulatory center for national industry associations and affiliated groups to engage with public bodies and other stakeholders across the Asia region.

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