Honolulu, HI, NOV. 13 - Public and private stakeholders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings held here this week pledged $1 million to create a new global food safety fund, which will be managed by the World Bank. In the next decade, the fund is expected to grow to $15-$20 million. The fund has three main food safety goals:
· Developing, testing and validating pilot programs in APEC that will result in reproducible training modules which can be customized for roll out to developing countries all around the world. These programs would focus on critical needs-- supply chain management, food safety incident management, laboratory competency, risk analysis and strengthening food safety regulatory systems.
· Addressing high priority food hazards, such as aflatoxins in grain, Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and viral and bacterial pathogens in seafood.
· Strengthening Analytics and Metrics – much needed for consistent, reliable and scaleable testing, designing, and evaluation of the performance of food safety systems.
The announcement was made by numerous stakeholders, including World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati; Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative; Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs; Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; Frank Mars, President, Mars Symbioscience; and Dr. Rohit Khanna, Vice President, Worldwide Business, Waters Corporation and Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).
"Food and beverage companies have a vast amount of experience, knowledge and understanding when it comes to developing and manufacturing safe products. We know what works, what doesn't work and how to apply best practices along the entire global supply chain to ensure our products are safe. This fund will allow us to share our skills and technical expertise in food safety on a much broader scale," noted Bailey.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed the news that he said will enable more growers, more producers, and more food safety officials to understand and utilize preventive controls – resulting in safer food for consumers, and fewer safety incidents in food trade.
Concerns about food safety in the Asia Pacific region have risen sharply, and spurred a high level, collective mandate from APEC Leaders to improve food safety standards and practices. In 2007, after the establishment of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF), APEC Leaders agreed on the need to develop a more robust approach to strengthening food safety standards and practices in the region, using scientific risk based approaches and without creating unnecessary impediments to trade. To this end, they called for increased capacity building to improve technical competence and understanding of food safety management among stakeholders in the supply chain, which include regulators, growers, packers, handlers, storage providers, processors, manufacturers, retailers and food service providers.
“I am pleased that such a wide range of stakeholders has come together in APEC to advance this ground-breaking approach to strengthening global food supply chains. The creation of a Global Food Safety Fund will help prevent food safety incidents, protect public health, and lead to greater confidence in trade, thereby creating a more prosperous region,” said Ambassador Kirk. “I expect that this powerful collaboration among food safety officials, industry experts, academics and other stakeholders can have an enduring impact on food trade, as well as on public health and food security, and I encourage continued efforts by these stakeholders to mobilize additional resources towards these goals. “
The creation of a Global Food Safety Fund has been made possible by generous seed money from the private sector, including Mars Incorporated and Waters Corporation, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development. Once implemented, it will take forward the strong collaboration between APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank, which was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the APEC meetings in Big Sky, Montana in May 2011.
This collaboration seeks to improve food safety competencies, laboratory proficiency, and risk-based management systems in APEC economies and then, globally. These goals support “Feed the Future,” the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, which supports countries in developing their agriculture sectors as a catalyst to generate broad-based economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger. USTR is a Feed the Future partners.
The APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network have been working to develop reproducible training modules that address high priority food safety issues since 2008. The Partnership Training Institute Network was a U.S.-led initiative endorsed by APEC Leaders in 2008. Additional information is available at http://fscf-ptin.apec.org
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