Food safety and quality

THE FAO/WHO Food Control System Assessment Tool

Food control systems are key in advancing a country’s public health and economic development. But to achieve their intended goal they need to work effectively and consistently across all their parts. The first step in making sure that the food control systems are in place and are operating efficiently throughout the entire food chain, is assessing them. 

FAO, together with WHO, created a unique assessment tool in 2019 to monitor and evaluate the performance of a national food control system and identify areas for improvement. 

The Food Control System Assessment Tool is used by various Member countries. Ultimately it supports countries to comply with internationally recognized food safety standards and increase competitiveness while protecting the health of consumers.

How is the Tool structured?

The tool is built around four main dimensions with 160 assessment criteria developed to measure “system competencies”. Countries gather and analyse data around these criteria, all of which are structuring competencies necessary for a well-functioning food system. 

How can countries use the Tool?

Countries can decide whether to conduct the assessment independently or with the support of FAO or WHO.

  • Self-assessments: where the government is completely in charge of the implementation of the assessment.
  • FAO/WHO facilitated assessments: where the implementation is externally facilitated by FAO/WHO through the provision of technical support and overall coordination of the process.

The assessment process culminates in the development of a strategic plan. The results of the assessments remain confidential but countries can share them with trading partners and stakeholders in the spirit of openness and mutual improvement. 

Access the Tool

Introduction and glossary
Dimension A – Inputs and resources
Dimension B – Control functions
Dimension C – Interaction with stakeholders
Dimension D – Science/knowledge base and continuous improvement