Workshop Issue 2: Identifying Existing Resources
and Programs and Fostering Collaboration and
- Workshop Chairman: Dr. Matias Fernandez, Ministry of
- Workshop Co-Chair: Mr. Bryce Quick, Food Safety and Inspection Service,
- Workshop Co-Chair: Mr. Richard Van Blargan, Food Safety and Inspection
- Concerns were expressed about not being
able to accomplish the workshop objective
without first gaining a firm
understanding of what the FSIA´s mission
is and how the organization will stand
apart from other international food
safety initiatives pursued over the last
- The workshop participants agreed
that if the objective is to ensure
that U.S. food imports are safe, then
the resulting plan is considerably
different than what is required if
the objective is to improve the
overall food safety infrastructure in
- We must be able to answer a
question common to all prospective
constituents and collaborators:
what will I get from FSIA that I
cannot get elsewhere?
- The scope of the organization
must encompass food safety and
bio-security activities conducted
by government, industry,
(NGOs) and academia.
- The FSIA must not lose sight of
its focus on people; changing
consumer behaviors is essential
to improving public health
- Industry support for FSIA will follow
from a comprehensive marketing effort to
convince prospective private-sector
participants of the benefits of
associating with the organization.
- With a clear mission and goals
established, the potential of FSIA is
tremendous. It can help improve the
effectiveness of hemispheric food safety
and bio-security capacity-building
efforts, and in doing so play an
important supporting role in the
facilitation of hemispheric trade
- The FSIA and its partners must be able
to function as a cohesive unit.
- The workshop participants agreed that a
similar approach is needed for the
Western Hemisphere as that which exists
for the European Union with respect to
food safety standards (i.e. Codex): the
EU acts together. With the FSIA serving
as a platform for a common food safety
strategy for the Americas, this is a
viable and achievable goal.
- The workshop participants acknowledged
that it is not possible during this
meeting to adequately and completely
inventory all food safety research and
education programs conducted by
government, industry, NGOs and academia.
- Instead, a needs assessment should be
conducted to determine the extent to
which existing food safety and
bio-security programs have already been
inventoried. A survey mechanism should
then be designed to canvas for program
information not documented elsewhere.
- Programs identified in survey responses
should be analyzed to determine the
extent to which they have been evaluated
for effectiveness in meeting their stated
food safety and bio-security objectives.
- A program evaluation mechanism will be
needed for those programs about which
little or no performance-measurement
- Conduct a needs assessment.
- The needs assessment is to determine what survey research
has been done on existing food safety and bio-security
programs and what is still needed. The needs assessment
should focus on programs related to: (1) traceability, (2)
product certification, (3) audit training, (4) harmonization
of food safety standards, (5) worker hygiene and health, (6)
water sanitation, (7) HACCP, (8) Good Manufacturing
Practices and Good Agricultural Practices, (9) risk analysis
and mitigation, (10) emerging pathogens and (11) analytical
- Partner with contract universities, trade
associations and public health and agriculture ministries in
the hemisphere to design survey instruments.
- The survey instruments should be designed to inventory
academic, industry, government and NGO food-safety and
security programs according to their target audiences.
- The goal should also be to determine the extent to which
those programs have been evaluated.
- The survey should cover the following five basic
- What programs are offered?
- Where are these programs offered?
- To whom are these programs offered?
- How are these programs delivered?
- How are these programs evaluated?
- Survey presentation and design should consider and
reflect sensitivity to ethnic and cultural traditions
associated with food preparation, consumption and economics.
- An idea posed was to consider having different countries
develop different components of survey instrument and question
- Partner with professional and trade-umbrella
organizations throughout the Hemisphere to target the surveys
to appropriate respondents.
- This could include such organizations as the Institute of
Food Technologists; National Association of State Universities
and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC); National Institutes of
Agricultural Security, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO);
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA),
and the Instituto panamericano de Proteccion de Alimentos y
Zoonosis (INPPAZ) (Food Safety and Zoonosis Institute),
Organismo internacional regional de sanidad agropecuaria (OIRSA).
- FSIA should engage umbrella organizations in formal dialogue
regarding FSIA prior to enlisting them in a survey
- Based on survey responses, determine where unmet
food safety outreach needs remain.
- Prioritize unmet needs and develop an action plan.
- Identify, solicit and secure cooperators and
resources to implement the action plan.