The industry group representing the food sector in Asia has announced a major commitment to scale-up food safety capacity building in China and the ASEAN region.
In a significant step forward for food safety in the region, Food Industry Asia (FIA) has announced an agreement with the World Bank for the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) and is making an initial contribution of US$150,000 in Asia.
Bev Postma, the Executive Director of FIA – who has also announced she will be leaving the industry body in February 2016 after overseeing significant growth since it was founded five years ago – said: “By signing this agreement for the GFSP in the presence of the World Bank, UNIDO, CFDA and global industry leaders we are reaffirming FIA’s role as a trusted partner to businesses and governments in Asia as we seek to scale up our collaborative capacity-building efforts in risk management, risk assessment and risk communications.”
The partnership, which was launched and convened by the World Bank in 2012, seeks to improve capacity-building and training programmes for food safety practitioners in both the public and private sector. The GFSP Secretariat is hosted by the World Bank.
Representatives from FIA, the World Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) were present at the announcement on 11 September during a high-level meeting at the Vienna Food Safety Forum where the agreement was signed.
UNIDO Director General, LI Yong said: “To overcome global food safety challenges, we need to bring together the public and private sector, academia and international organizations and jointly deliver global solutions.”
Jiang Deyuan, President of CFDA Institute of Executive Development, who was present for the announcement, added: “CFDA welcomes and appreciates the leadership role of UNIDO in facilitating public-private partnerships for scaling up food safety capacity building initiatives and confirms its support to UNIDO and its partners in ensuring effective and well-coordinated approach for implementing food safety capacity building projects in Asia and China.”
FIA has supported a number of food safety capacity-building initiatives in ASEAN and China and is highlighting the urgent need to scale up these investments by working with partners like UNIDO, the GFSP, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) to accelerate training.
FIA will shortly convene the search for a new Executive Director, following Postma’s decision to move onto a new challenges next year.
Commenting on her departure, Amit Banati, FIA President, said: “Bev has played a tremendous role in building and shaping FIA to what it is today. For the past five years, Bev has worked tirelessly to launch and grow the organisation from being a small forum in the early days to a really influential platform that is meeting the needs of both the food industry and our stakeholders. Bev’s leadership has put FIA on the map and made it a well-respected and influential voice for the food industry globally. She has been a tireless advocate, a terrific colleague and above all a passionate champion for the value of public-private partnership.”