Global Food Safety Specifications
Food safety issues and the entire gamut of the food production cycle is a matter of grave concern that is being addressed by the UN through the WHO, which works in concert with the Food and Agricultural Organization.
New methods of risk analysis are being evolved to control foodborne diseases in developing and developed nations. Foodborne diseases account for significant mortality in the third world. Food safety specifications vary from country to country which in certain countries fall woefully short of acceptable norms. A determined effort is being made to introduce some form of standardization as is the practice in the European Union where stringent measures apply. A start has been made with the joint FAO/WHO food standards program to improve global food quality by introduction of a Food Code (Codex Alimentarius). The primary objective is to protect the health of consumers and monitor fair practice in international food trade. It is an endeavor towards equitable and sustainable food practices.
Based in Paris, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) started in 2000 strives for the following:
- A benchmarking process and convergence between global food safety standards.
- An improvement in cost efficiency and acceptance globally of GFSI standards.
- A platform for dissemination of information and data pertaining to food safety practices.
The ultimate vision is 'once certified, universally accepted', and the initiative is slowly gaining global acceptance. The technical committee formed in 2006 comprises a cross-section of representatives from all entities related to the food chain including certified and accredited bodies, and industry associations.
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