International Food safety Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Regulatory Framework
Purpose of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Regulation SPS measures are applied to imported and domestically produced plant and animal products to: • protect humans from animal and plant-borne diseases; • protect plants and animals from pests or diseases; and • protect countries from the economic cost of pest or disease introduction or spread
International SPS Agreements International SPS agreements are defined in: • the 1994 GATT Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and, more recently; • the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, negotiated during the Uruguay Round.
These agreements require Member countries to: • prepare their SPS measures based on international standards or regulations; • base SPS measures on scientific principles; • not unjustifiably discriminate between Members where similar conditions prevail; • not apply measures that disguise trade restrictions; • maintain an SPS Enquiry Point and inform WTO in advance of changes to SPS measures.
SPS and Transitional Economies Transitional economies are often not well placed to manage SPS regimes as they: • lack information, transparent regulations & science-based risk assessment systems; • don’t participate effectively in the setting of international standards; • have difficulty meeting conformity assessment tests; • are unable to reduce costs through equivalency agreements.
SPS and Trade Barriers • While most SPS standards reduce risk, respond to consumer concerns and facilitate trade, the concern remains, despite WTO provisions, that, in a world of reduced tariffs and quotas, SPS requirements could be used to constrain trade and protect markets through unjustified specification or costly and time-consuming tests.
Principle of “Equivalency” • the principle of “equivalency” is expected to reduce costs and ensure freer trade; • mainly limited to trade pacts (EU, NAFTA, Australia-New Zealand); • many countries seeking “sameness” instead of equivalency in testing regimes.
SPS and Food Safety Systems Should Be • institutionally efficient; • rule based; • take into account the concerns of consumers and industry; • able to act rapidly to address hazards; • consistent with international bodies; • progressively harmonizing with the EU.
SPS and Food Safety Vision The vision for a SPS/food safety regime should be to ensure: • worldwide market access for exports; • protection of the country’s agricultural production, consumers; and • protection of human health and the health of the country’s flora and fauna.
WTO and EU Compliance • The WTO SPS Agreement requires that technical measures be based on risk assessment, without which capacity, members cannot fully benefit; • EU law gives clearer guidance on the type of food controls required; • regulation (EC)No 178/2002 Of The European Parliament And Of The Council of 28 January2002; • Council Directive 89/397/EEC of 14 June 1989 ; • Council Directive 93/99/EEC of 29 October 1993
EU Food Safety Processes • Risk assessment: consisting of hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment and risk characterization; • Risk communication: exchange of information and opinions amongst key stakeholders; • Risk management: process of of weighing policy alternatives in consultation with interested parties; • Official control: inspection of establishments, processes and products;
Agencies Typically Involved in Food Safety • Ministry of Agriculture, • Veterinary Department • Plant Protection Department, where • Food Processing Department • Ministry of Health, • Sanitary Department • Ministry of Industry, Economy or Trade • State Department(s) of Standardization, Metrology and Certification • State Inspection of Products and Services
What is Wrong With Many Present Systems • inadequate risk analysis and risk management, hence no scientific basis for allocating resources to food safety problems; • too many bodies involved in inspection, with lawful but overlapping responsibilities resulting in multiple inspections , with no single body having an overview of food chain safety; • Inspection bodies compete for territory to gain external income from certification and are subject to political influence and corruption; • Inspectors’ technical knowledge and skills are outdated, few have experience of hazard based process-control approach to food safety management.
What is Wrong With Many Present Systems (contd. ) • food businesses sustain unjustifiably high costs due to excessive and meaningless testing and certification, reducing competitiveness • food standards fail to prioritize between food safety and commercial quality concerns • too many State supported testing laboratories, mostly ill-equipped and staffed; • no laboratory accreditation service to international levels; • few laboratories with the technical standards to carry out reference functions; • overall, food safety policy has a low priority on Government’s agenda.
What Should We Do ? • prepare a framework law to define the organizational structure and approach to food control; • establish a single Agency for the application of technical food regulations, supported by stakeholder and scientific committees; • establish risk analysis and risk assessment functions within the Agency; • provide for an effective means of coordinating the inspection bodies; • provide budgetary allocations for government food safety activities.
What Should We Do (contd. ) ? • apply EU compliant control systems focused on the conditions of production and approval of establishments, rather than certification of foods; • separate inspection on trading standards (labeling, price marking, functional claims, etc) from food safety inspection • define the role of laboratories in providing defined testing services of an acceptable standard for inspection bodies; • if required, define the scope of government regulation of food quality.
Food Safety Agency Responsibilities The responsibilities of such an Agency would include: • management of inspection of foods and places where food is produced, processed & distributed; • management of inspection and certification of food at borders; • monitoring of foods on the market to assess compliance and identify and quantify human health hazards;
Food Safety Agency Responsibilities(contd.) • ensuring adequate laboratory provision; • prosecution of offences against the food law; • review and development of new food legislation; • assessment of risks to human health from foods; • receiving and acting on complaints from consumers; • providing information to industry and consumers about food safety.
Structure of Food Safety Agency • Such an agency is likely to include: • a Food Safety Council, • a Scientific Council • a Consultative Council • Functional departments including: • Inspection and Enforcement; • Scientific Affairs; • Public Relations; and • Administration.
EUREPGAP: Good Agricultural Practice • EUREPGAPis a global reference scheme for good agricultural practice, managed by the EUREPGAP Secretariat. EUREPGAP focuses on: • Food Safety - derived from the generic application of HACCP principals; • Environment Protection - based on good agricultural practices designed to minimize negative environment effects; • Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare - establishes a global level of farm occupational health and safety and awareness and responsibility regarding social issues; • Animal Welfare - establishes a global level of animal welfare criteria on farms
EUREPGAP: Fruit and Vegetable Control Point Compliance Criteria • EUREPGAP is a means of incorporating Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Crop Management (ICM) practices within the framework of commercial agricultural production. All EUREPGAP fruit and vegetable farmers should be able to demonstrate their commitment to: • maintaining consumer confidence in food quality and safety; • minimizing detrimental impact on the environment, whilst conserving nature and wildlife; • reducing the use of crop protection products; • improving the efficiency of natural resource use; and • ensuring a responsible attitude towards worker health and safety.