Lookout

FIA and World bank set to propel Asian food industry

10:24 SGT June 12, 2017
FIA
The growing middle class, affordable air travel and accommodation, as well as the ASEAN Open Skies Policy are creating enormous potential for local and international brands.

FIA has signalled its commitment to help scale-up food safety capacity building in China and the ASEAN region with the signing of an agreement with the World Bank for the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) — and making an initial contribution of US$150,000.

As the world’s food economy expands and international supply chains grow more complex, many countries in Asia are facing challenges in food safety capacity.

While the vast majority of food is delivered safely to our tables, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases kill an estimated two million people annually, including many children, and particularly in developing countries.

Where food supplies are insecure, economic progress is inhibited; people tend to shift to less healthy diets and consume more “unsafe foods” — in which chemical, microbiological and other hazards pose health risks.

Since 2010, FIA has successfully brought together leading F&B companies around three key challenges of food safety, harmonisation and health & nutrition, forming meaningful tri-sector partnerships across Asia.

FIA members representing the food industry in Asia and beyond have recognised that the best way to tackle food safety effectively on a global scale is through multi-sectoral partnerships where knowledge can be cascaded freely to those most in need.

In particular, FIA has been an active player and a key supporter of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), convened by the World Bank. Since the creation of the GFSP in 2012 to improve capacity-building and training programmes for food safety practitioners in both public and private sectors, FIA has worked to ensure that this initiative is well informed and responsive to the needs of the F&B sector in the region.

Signing the agreement on September 11 at the Vienna Food Safety Forum, FIA’s president Amit Banati said: “By signing this agreement in the presence of leaders from the World Bank, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the China Food & Drug Administration and global industry partners, we are reaffirming FIA’s role as a valuable partner to businesses and governments in Asia as we seek to scale up our collaborative efforts to strengthen food safety systems.

We are delighted to be part of this unique global partnership that aims to drive a joined-up food safety agenda especially in China, where there is a real opportunity to build a strong food safety culture between the government and the food industry.

Banati added: “Over the past five years, FIA has worked with other industry partners to provide significant input into shaping the future of investments in food safety competency development across the entire food supply chain in Asia, including upgrading food safety regulatory systems to meet internationally recognised benchmarks.”