Public and private sector must cooperate better on food safety

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

UNECE symposium
UNECE symposium

Related tags: Food safety, Codex alimentarius

Food safety and quality in the meat sector was the subject of an international symposium organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Speakers included Veronique Discours-Buhot, director of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Dr Angela Siemens, VP of food safety, quality and regulatory at Cargill; and Tom Heilandt, secretary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

To help ensure food safety and quality at affordable prices, the public and private sector need to better cooperate with food safety being a shared responsibility and not a competitive advantage.

“All public and private actors, be they national or international and no matter where they are positioned along the supply chain, have an equal interest in ensuring food safety at all times and no matter where. Today, a tiny incidence on one side of the globe can destroy consumer confidence worldwide.

“All speakers repeatedly recalled the devastating effect the BSE crisis had and continues to have on the whole meat industry and on consumers. Similarly, the recent horse meat scandal, which for the first time drew consumers’ attention to food fraud, will have a long-lingering impact on us all.” 

Supply chains have become more sophisticated over time, efficient and global and involve many actors, said UNECE.   

“Today, no single agency or actor can take on alone the issue of setting adequate standards, monitoring their use and enforcing them.

“In addition, more efforts are needed to reduce the auditing and certification burden, especially for the smaller farms or companies, for example, through benchmarking processes.”

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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