New Global Food Safety Fund announced to build capacity

Honolulu – This year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit closed 13 November on a high note for the food and beverage industry, consumers and all those who support public-private partnerships as the most effective way to meet social challenges: The US government, the World Bank, FIA member Mars, Incorporated and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) announced the creation of a $1 million Global Food Safety Fund to improve capability in food safety.

A global first, the fund is a public-private partnership that will be managed by the World Bank. The fund will bolster food safety and trade through training programs that are to be offered initially to the 21 member countries of APEC, enhancing food safety and protection of consumers.

Initial funding comes from public and private stakeholders including Mars and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Eventually, the GMA expects the fund to grow to $15-$20 million. According to the organisation, the fund has three primary food safety goals, all aimed at preventing food safety incidents from occurring:

  • Developing, testing and validating pilot programs in APEC that will result in reproducible training modules which can be customised 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 scalable testing, designing, and evaluation of the performance of food safety systems.
“A food safety crisis that originates in one region can so rapidly become a crisis in another region,” World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati was quoted as saying.

The announcement is a further endorsement of the effectiveness of public-private partnerships, which FIA has championed as the most effective approach to addressing social challenges.

According to APEC, the summit further resulted in agreements to strengthen “economic integration and expand trade, promote green growth and advance regulatory convergence and cooperation to achieve economic growth in the region.”

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