With all food related businesses in Fiji required by the Food Safety Act 2003 to be certified as HACCP compliant by 2015, a workshop has been organized to provide guidelines to help meet the requirements for those that would be affected.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a risk-based approach management system that addresses food safety. It uses identification, evaluation and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards to ensure the safety of food.
The food business demands compliance to international valid food safety standards involving all steps from farm to table when food reaches consumers through the food chain.
One weak link may result in unsafe food that has an adverse health effect, and if this happens, the hazards to consumers may be serious as well as the danger of a ban on the business that caused the hazard. Not only could the manufacturer be ?blacklisted? but the country could be banned from exporting that food product or related food products overseas.
?This workshop will not only bring about awareness to the roadmap to help in HACCP compliance, but will also illustrate the importance of food safety in all steps of the food chain, from the farmer and the production of raw material through a range of businesses that provide food sales and handling, processing, distribution and ultimately the consumption of the finished product.
?It will help Fiji producers to better understand why they have to comply with domestic and international requirements and the benefits they can obtain,? said workshop organizer, International Trade Centre (ITC)?s Adviser on Export Quality Control, Ludovica Ghizzoni.
ITC, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Fiji Crop & Livestock Council (FCLC) are facilitating the European Union (EU) funded ?Hygiene Practices and Food Safety System Workshop?. The one-day event will be held at the Tanoa Hotel in Nadi on Thursday, February 14.
The workshop is primarily focused on senior management in agri-food processing, especially those that supply the tourism industry as well as those who export from Fiji, but stakeholders involved in promoting safety in the agri-food industry, with its objectives to better understand:
? The role of food safety in world trade and why Fiji producers have to comply with international requirements;
? The most relevant standards on food safety;
? The Fiji regulations on hygiene and food safety and related implications for compliance;
? The requirements of hygiene in the agro-food industry;
? The steps of implementation of Codex HACCP based food safety systems.
?The workshop is the first of a series of food safety-related activities to be implemented under the ITC/SPC programme ?Fiji ? Improvement of key services to agriculture.? It is to increase awareness of the need for hygienic practices and food safety systems in Fiji and in world trade,? said Ms. Ghizzoni.
She added that as part of the programme, ITC would assist agri-food enterprises located in the sugar belt or sourcing from producers in the sugar belt comply with food safety requirements and towards this end coach local trainers and or consultants to ensure sustainability in food safety into the future.