Since its inception in 2010, FIA has advocated for a coordinated approach to address key challenges faced by the food and beverage (F&B) industry. Food safety is one of them and the industry body seeks to harness the power of multi-stakeholder partnerships to enhance consumer protection and ensure sufficient support to increase stakeholders’ understanding of scientific information.
In an effort to tackle the growing consumer concerns over food safety in the region, FIA organised a roundtable with the newly-created Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on 12 April to explore developments and emerging trends in food safety.
The inaugural Future-Ready Food Safety Innovation Roundtable provided a platform for industry, regulators and the research community in Singapore to discuss and collaborate on food safety innovation and regulatory frameworks.
FIA Executive Director Matt Kovac kicked off the meeting by sharing that FIA was keen to “create a platform for SFA to better understand the industry’s food innovation pipeline and enable SFA to best support the science and research of the industry”.
SFA Director-General Dr Tan Lee Kim, recognised the potential arising from innovation in the food industry and highlighted that food safety is of paramount importance and is a pre-requisite for food security.
The session shed light on participants’ perspectives towards novel foods, health claims, e-commerce regulations, tech-based systems for traceability and quicker food recalls, and social science studies for risk communications. Through the discussions, FIA was able to facilitate a better understanding between local food regulators and the F&B industry on their respective initiatives and spurred discussions on key areas of interest. The roundtable was also a positive step towards further engagement and collaboration between SFA and FIA on co-regulating and co-innovating solutions for the industry.
Regulators recognise the need to keep abreast of new developments within the F&B industry amidst the rapidly evolving landscape. Designed to support regulators’ efforts in engaging the industry, the dialogue session provided a platform for in-depth discussions on companies’ latest innovations and trends that they are tapping into that will require additional regulatory frameworks.
As the voice of the food and beverage industry operating in Asia, FIA also recognises the importance of regional and international regulatory collaboration to ensure coherence and facilitate trade across countries. Hot on the heels of the FIA-SFA roundtable, FIA on 24 April organised the inaugural Regulators Roundtable in Singapore with participation from food regulators from Australia, China, the EU, Singapore, and Sri Lanka to share regulatory developments in countries and regions, as well as the challenges faced by regulators. Topics covering novel food, e-commerce and risk communication were discussed among participants at the session.
In addition, as regulatory and policy pressures on Asia’s F&B industry intensifies, it is imperative that the industry speak with one voice and align across a range of issues in presenting industry positions to regional governments and global organisations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
To do this effectively, FIA remains committed to providing a platform for stakeholders to engage on the latest developments, opportunities and challenges faced by the industry. As part of its efforts to provide a platform for such collaboration and engagement, the recently concluded National Food Industry Association (NIA) dialogue organised by FIA, brought together NIAs from across Asia and the Pacific region to identify areas for collaboration and share expertise and best practices.
FIA aims to drive such collaborations to enhance dialogue and build engagement between industry, policy makers and key stakeholders to promote sustainable growth for a healthy and prosperous Asia.