An invitation extended by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), Co-Chair of the APEC FSCF, provided NATA with the opportunity to present at the FSCF Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) Proficiency Testing Workshop and then observe the High Level Regulator-Industry Dialogue and Special Session.
This provided NATA with its first opportunity to be involved in the APEC FSCF and Nicole Bailey from NATA’s Stakeholder Relations department participated in the meetings held in Beijing, China from 10th to 13th September 2014, giving two presentations:
- The Role of PT in Laboratory Capacity Building; and
- The Progress of PT Accreditation.
The APEC FSCF was established in 2007 and seeks to build robust food safety systems in the Asia-Pacific region that are consistent with the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of the World Trade Organization.
The APEC FSCF is co-chaired by Australia (FSANZ) and China (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China, AQSIQ).
The FSCF PTIN was established in 2008 specifically to address the need to engage the food industry and academics with the regulators to strengthen capacity building in food safety, including laboratory capacity building.
The meetings were an opportunity to gain a better understanding of current and emerging food safety issues in the Asia-Pacific region and to explore ways in which food trade can be enhanced through:
- Communication, collaboration and information sharing;
- Capacity building within member economies; and
- Regulatory convergence using science based food safety international standards.
Food safety is a shared responsibility and it is acknowledged that food testing has an important role to play in providing the necessary data to support food quality and safety, which in turns assists a predictable and safe international trade of food products.
The knowledge gained from all meetings is currently being used to refine NATA’s stakeholder engagement strategy in relation to food and food testing. This will enable NATA to better assist regulators, industry and accredited laboratories to maintain a robust food safety system in Australia, which in turn will facilitate trade and economic growth.
Further information on APEC FSCF and the FSCF PTIN is available on the FSANZ website.