Sécurité sanitaire et qualité des aliments
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Project title

Technical assistance to review the food inspection services in Fiji 

Background

Based on the request of the government of Fiji, a review of Fiji’s food inspection system was undertaken in light of the promulgation of new legislation, i.e. the Food Safety Act 2003, the Biosecurity Act 2008 and the Food Safety Regulations 2009, focusing on the legislation, policy and procedures implemented by the various components of the Government of the Fiji Islands with food inspection responsibilities. The purpose of the review was to identify areas in the food inspection system that may require strengthening/amendments and recommend appropriate actions including capacity building that will increase the effectiveness of the food inspection system in protecting consumers.

Objectives

1. To carry out a review of the food inspection services in Fiji

2. Build capacity based on the findings and outcomes of the study

Strategy

The technical assistance was carried out by a consultant in Food Inspection Services and technical supported by SAP Technical Officer in close collaboration with national inspection authorities. The review examined the inspection system as it applied to the food chain, focusing on the legislation, policy and procedures implemented by the various components of the Government of the Fiji Islands with food inspection responsibilities. In reviewing the inspection system, the main focus was on the existence of a legislative basis for inspection activities; whether there was sufficient clarity in the various regulations, policies or other operating procedures to ensure there were no gaps in the system and that duplication was minimized; and, finally, whether there was sufficient infrastructure support to the food inspection system.

Based on findings and in view of the fact that the Food Safety Regulations 2009 specifically identify the standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission as the relevant standard to be applied in Fiji, one of the recommendations was that inspectors should enhance their knowledge of codex and how to utilize it within their work. Hence two workshops were organized for food inspectors and other related inspectors involved with food (e.g. quarantine, trade/consumer, rural authority) at the major points of entry (Suva, Nadi/Lautoka). Objectives of the capacity development were to enhance awareness of what Codex is and why it is important to Fiji; explain Fiji’s Codex Program and how stakeholders can provide input into the international standard-setting process; explain the relationship between Codex and the WTO; understand the relation between Codex standards and the Fiji Food Safety Regulations and how to obtain and use specific codex standards in the work of food inspection. The training workshops involved a combination of lectures, group work and practical exercises using typical scenarios faced by inspectors. It was also the intent that the workshop material would subsequently be used by officials within the Government of Fiji for training of addirional inspection staff (Health, Biosecurity, and Customs) as well as members of the National Codex Committee.

Outputs

  • Detailed report on inspection system review
  • Training resource material
  • Two 3-day training workshops for food inspectors at the major points of entry (Suva, Nadi/Lautoka)
  • Concise end of mission report with an executive summary of activities undertaken, key results, conclusions and recommendations