Pan-Asian food safety fund announced

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

A public-private partnership has been struck, assuring $1m to create a fund for food safety training programmes and incident prevention schemes throughout Asia Pacific.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the US government and World Bank have come together to form the Global Food Safety Fund.

The fund was announced at the weekend at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, held in Hawaii.

The aim is to strengthen food safety regulatory systems in Asian markets, with focus on supply chain management and food safety incident management.

Key food hazards, such as Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, viral and bacterial pathogens in seafood and aflatoxins in grain, will be the focus of the schemes.

Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of GMA, said: “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.”

“We brought together food safety regulators, multi-lateral institutions like the World Bank, academia and industry; stakeholders all focused on a common mission of improving food safety… This fund will allow us to share our skills and technical expertise in food safety on a much broader scale,” ​she added.

Building on APEC’s work

APEC already has a clear focus on the food sector, with the APEC Food System (AFS) set up to link together food production and processing throughout Asia Pacific.

In 2007, it was acknowledged by APEC leaders that food safety needed to be a focus.

They agreed that, “additional capacity building in this area is a priority,”​ and that there was a need to develop a more robust approach to strengthening food and consumer product safety standards.

In May of this year, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between APEC and the World Bank to explore opportunities of further promoting and supporting food safety.

Bailey explained that the new food safety fund built on this mission.

Future focus

The $1m currently pledged by the public and private sector stakeholders is expected to reach between $15m and $20m in the next ten years.

Bailey acknowledged USAID, Mars Incorporated and Waters Corporation for their contributions to starting up the fund.

She explained that their commitments represented an example to the public and private sectors to “work even more closely together to improve food safety systems, safeguard public health and facilitate food trade.”

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