A regional unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization and a university in Finland are looking for good practices to improve food safety management.

The FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the University of Helsinki issued the call which covers three topics.

These are: measuring effectiveness of food control; solutions to support small-scale producers to comply with food safety requirements and use of digital to improve food safety management.

The questionnaires are open to those in the Europe and Central Asia region until June 17.

Official food control is an important part of food safety risk management, said FAO.

“Measuring how well the official food control system is functioning is an important step for continuous development and preparedness for the evolving challenges on food safety with the best management practices possible. It is also a useful tool to measure the improvement of national systems over time and progress towards their national level goals. The assessment of the effectiveness of official food control requires well-established, measurable parameters that are relevant to the national context.”

Small scale and digital focus

FAO said small-scale producers have more issues with the implementation of food safety requirements due to factors including lack of financial and technical capacities. 

“These challenges may lead to non-compliance and increased food safety risks. Small-scale producers are a priority in the region, particularly in domestic and local markets. Supporting small-scale producers to comply with the food safety requirements is important as it can lead to increased food safety and possible business and income growth through short value chains and increased access to the domestic and export markets.”

Good practices provided by authorities, food associations, academia, or NGOs could include written guidance documents, videos, interactive teaching tools and onsite support.

FAO said while some digital tools require a significant investment, there are innovative solutions available or that show promise and that can be achieved with minor expenditure or by using existing platforms and tools.

It is the first phase of collecting good food safety management practices with a focus on the three topics and aims to identify proven solutions, initiatives and successful projects and programs across the region.

Submissions should cover approaches to measure effectiveness and data driven continuous development of food control.

Helping small-scale producers to comply with food safety regulations and improving food control authorities’ tools and possibilities to these producers in complying with the rules.

Digital solutions improving food safety data analysis and use of data; enhancing food safety communication between parties; improving consumer awareness and trust and increasing compliance with food safety requirements by businesses.

A selection of good practices will be highlighted and presented at a webinar in late 2022.

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