Безопасность и качество пищевых продуктов

New report explains how to set up an e-notification system for food safety


FAO has issued a new guidance document that explains how to design and implement a food control e-notification system according to a country’s needs and resources. The document, called Technical guidance for the implementation of e-notification systems for food control, walks readers through using e-notification data as a supporting instrument to improved import controls.

More than a third of agrifood exports cross borders at least twice before reaching the final consumer, creating new and greater challenges for the management of food safety as tracing the origin is more complex and time-consuming.

 “As countries transition toward digitalization of food control systems, this document will help in that process,” said Esther Garrido Gamarro, FAO Fishery Officer. Because it is impossible to test every food item on the market, risk-based sampling plans support food safety, allowing one to capture the occurrence of specific hazards on an ongoing basis. An e-notification system can help identify acute issues that require immediate actions to protect public health as well as inform risk-based inspections by identifying significant, persistent and/or worsening hazard situations that require monitoring and ongoing assessment.

The new report:

  • identifies the pre-requisites for an e-notification system and highlights the legal framework that needs to be in place to enable it;
  • outlines the resources such a system requires – human, hardware and software – and lays down its typical structure; this includes the responsibilities that need to be assigned, the types of notifications, and the required institutional arrangements;
  • emphasizes the need for data traceability and the importance of its format, which should allow the international exchange of the information if necessary;
  • provides a checklist of aspects to be considered when implementing an e-notification system; and
  • shares four examples of existing systems operating at different levels of complexity – from Canada, Chile, the European Commission and Japan.

The target audience for this document is the competent authorities of the countries seeking to implement an e-notification system within an existing food control system, and their IT support.

The document builds on a workshop where experiences and best practices were shared, and led to a set of recommendations that included developing guidance on import notification systems. Subsequently, FAO developed a project called “Digital solutions in support of improved official food control services”, which had a component on developing and implementing e-notification portals. The project provided guidance and support based on international best practices, as well as the experiences of countries that have successfully implemented effective food control systems.


Access the document here

Additional reading:
Food control system assessment tool: Dimension B – Control Functions

Share this page