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Global Food Safety Fund Will Aim to Prevent Safety Incidents in Food Supply Chains
Honolulu, HI – On the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings being held this week in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed the news that an innovative public private partnership has pledged $1 million for the creation of the world’s first Global Food Safety Fund for capacity building. To be managed by the World Bank, the proposed fund will leverage the tripartite approach pioneered in APEC that enlists a wide range of stakeholders in training programs designed to enhance food safety and to facilitate trade. These programs will enable more growers, more producers, and more food safety officials to understand and utilize preventive controls – resulting in safer food for consumers, and fewer safety incidents in food trade.
“I am pleased that such a wide range of stakeholders has come together in APEC to advance this ground-breaking approach to strengthening global food supply chains. The creation of a Global Food Safety Fund will help prevent food safety incidents, protect public health, and lead to greater confidence in trade, thereby creating a more prosperous region,” said Ambassador Kirk. “I expect that this powerful collaboration among food safety officials, industry experts, academics and other stakeholders can have an enduring impact on food trade, as well as on public health and food security, and I encourage continued efforts by these stakeholders to mobilize additional resources towards these goals. “
The creation of a Global Food Safety Fund has been made possible by generous seed money from the private sector, including Mars Incorporated and Waters Corporation, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development. Once implemented, it will take forward the strong collaboration between APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank, which was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the APEC meetings in Big Sky, Montana in May 2011. This collaboration seeks to improve food safety competencies, laboratory proficiency, and risk-based management systems in APEC economies and then, globally. These goals support “Feed the Future,” the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, which supports countries in developing their agriculture sectors as a catalyst to generate broad-based economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger. USTR is a Feed the Future partners. The goals also support the Obama Administration’s food safety regulatory objectives:
“It is truly gratifying to see the great progress that has been made since Big Sky,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “The food supply is global. Even a single food safety incident can have a significant worldwide impact. This calls for a new strategy, one being pursued by the FDA. We must help build strong food safety systems around the world, and create global coalitions of regulators and information networks that promote prevention-focused, risk- based assignment of resources and leverage the efforts of public and private partners. This partnership is a step in that direction.”
The APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network have been working to develop reproducible training modules that address high priority food safety issues since 2008. The Partnership Training Institute Network was a U.S.-led initiative endorsed by APEC Leaders in 2008. Additional information is available at http://fscf-ptin.apec.org.
Ambassador Kirk also noted that advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence are key priorities for the United States during its APEC host year, and called the work of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network an example of the regulatory cooperation that the United States would like to see across APEC.