FAO in Egypt

In Egypt, FAO leads an evaluation of the national food control system


Cairo, Egypt - Earlier this month, FAO began an assessment to improve the food control system in Egypt. The 6.4-million-euro project, "Strengthening of Capacities and Governance in Food and Phytosanitary Control” project, funded by the European Union (EU) since December 2021, is providing technical support and working with Competent Authorities and other leading institutions in 12 African Union member countries to build up capabilities, strengthen governance and improve strategic planning around two main components: food safety and plant health.

Following a recent extension granted by the EU, Egypt has become one of the two additional beneficiaries of the project, alongside Djibouti.

Assessment of the national food control system in Egypt

The project, co-signed by the Government of Egypt, falls within the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Policy Framework for Africa developed by the African Union (AU) to spur trade among AU Member States and is implemented in close collaboration with the African Commission Division for Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC DARBE).

Similarly to the other eight countries that have undergone the assessment, a team of food safety experts from FAO will collaborate closely with local Competent Authorities or food safety and relevant stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of Egypt’s food control system and develop strategies to improve the country’s public health and economic development. So far, a total of eight countries have successfully concluded the food control system assessment. The next and last country to conduct an assessment will be Djibouti, where an Inception Workshop is scheduled for the end of April.

Egypt and FAO have a long-standing partnership working together since FAO established its Representation in Cairo in 1978 to enhance policy and institutional frameworks around agricultural and rural development. With this project, FAO is introducing to Egypt the FAO/WHO Food Control System Assessment Tool, a unique instrument whose use is expanding steadily, which is designed to assess the national food control system in a comprehensive manner, by looking at the entire food chain, including production, distribution, the retail market and the consumers.

As Dr. Tareq Al-Houby, Chairman of Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian National Food Safety Authority, emphasized in his speech the importance of the project in achieving a “unified and coherent” system, referring to it as a pivotal step “to reach the optimal level of scientific-based compliance".

The project aims to assist Egypt in adhering to international standards, fostering greater harmonization and trade within the region.

Launch of the Project and Training of Focal Points:

The project's inception and training workshop, held in Cairo, included presentations, discussions, and case studies to train focal points of the Competent Authorities on the technical aspects of the assessment tool and their respective responsibilities in the project's subsequent phases. Participants expressed enthusiasm for the assessment process, underscoring the country's commitment to advancing food safety.

The participants of the workshop expressed enthusiasm about the assessment. In an interview, Ms Hanan Fouad Hamed, Manager of Food Standards and Codex Unit at the Standards and Quality Organization said how the assessment “will help Egypt to identify food safety priorities as well as food borne diseases that need to be monitored,” adding that this will help “strengthen the system overall.”

Conclusion of the Project and Final Workshop:

The culmination of the assessment will involve stakeholders, experts, and officials convening to review findings, endorse recommendations, and develop a strategic action plan for implementation. This collaborative effort aims to shape the future of food safety in Egypt, aligning with international standards to promote greater harmonization and trade in the region.

Read more about the FAO/WHO Food Control System Assessment Tool

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