An international forum is scheduled for October on data-driven innovation in food safety, including the use of remote audits and verification.

The event is organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Vienna Food Safety Forum is set for Oct. 3 to 5 in Austria in a blended format, with both face-to-face and online attendance possible.

It will focus on solutions for remote audit and verification; electronic health certificates; and the data generated by voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programs.

UNIDO’s cooperation with the Australian government builds on engagement with the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) on remote inspection.

The STDF helps developing countries to meet international standards and gain market access. It was established by the WTO, FAO, WHO, World Organisation for Animal Health and World Bank Group.

Growth of digital approaches
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated food safety stakeholders’ attempts to optimize their operations using data and information and communication technology (ICT), according to an event brief.

“Digitalization and data-driven innovations – like remote (virtual) audits and acceptance of digital certification — open the door for new opportunities to the food safety community to create more resource-efficient and robust practices based on evidence,” it said.  

“Furthermore, the pandemic fast-tracked the adoption of digital solutions for alternative decision making by food regulators, businesses, food safety service providers, and academia. However, the extent to which these actors have seized this opportunity varies. New solutions also require significant changes in current practices and capacities, all which come with certain risks, but also present opportunities.” 

By sharing experiences using technology-driven innovations, participants will develop a better understanding of current digital trends in food safety.  

The three-day event provides a platform for stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as academia to exchange experiences in their digital transformation of food safety practices. Attendees can discuss the electronic exchange of certification related to food trade, use of data generated by voluntary third-party assurance programs, and remote audit and inspection practices.

Plenary sessions will be streamed online based on prior registration. There are seven plenary and four networking sessions. 

Interpretation will be available in English, French, and Spanish. To register follow this link.

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