Report: Food Safety Management System along Food Value Chains Multicountry Study Mission, May 23-28, 2016, Japan

Group photo with APO Secretary-General Mari Amano

Group photo with APO Secretary-General Mari Amano

Food safety is a worldwide concern. The importance of food safety cannot be overemphasized. The number of food safety crises occurring worldwide in recent years has eightened consumers’ food safety awareness and caused public distrust of increasingly complex global food value chains. Against this background, the food-processing industry has been developing diverse management systems to control food safety and quality along value chains. However, due to a lack of clear understanding of these systems and limited financial and human resources, food-processing SMEs have difficulties in establishing and operating them. With a special cash grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, this study mission is aimed at deepening the understanding of modem FSMS.

The participants were expected to enhance understanding of modem food safety management systems (FSMS) inclusive of HACCP, ISO 22000, and food traceability systems, examine the challenges and opportunities in enhancing such systems; and formulate strategies for adopting the lessons learned from the experience of Japan in other participating countries.

The observational study mission includes field/company visits, resource paper presentations, sharing of country experiences, and individual/group exercises. On Modem FSMS, Food traceability systems, and challenges and options for the private sector in implementing FSMS and traceability systems, especially for SMEs.

OBJECTIVES

As the current Director of an institute mandated to provide technical assistance to the general public on food safety by providing appropriate training programs to suit the needs of the food industry, the objectives of this project totally exemplifies the primary role, our organization plays in the society. Enhancing our understanding on food safety management systems in the food value chain will strengthen our role in the promotion of food safety to the general public, especially our students. This observational tour will also give me a different perspective on the strategies and challenges other countries are facing, and apply the effective management tools and lessons learned from those experiences. The exchange of information among different participating countries is an opportunity to formulate a food safety management system suited to our personal experiences in our own country considering the big postharvest losses in the food value chain. I believe that adopting a food safety system will greatly help both from the perspective of the economy and food safety.

It is also worthwhile to note that although there are companies capable of embracing modern food safety management system such as HACCP, ISO 22000 and food traceability systems, majority of the food companies in my country are still lacking information and even implementation programs with regards to this system. These food companies often belong to the SMEs. I am expecting to learn strategies on how to help even those small food industries compete with the big companies by implementation of such programs in a manner highly adaptable to them.

PARTICIPANTS

This study mission tour was participated by a diverse group involved in Food Safety Management System in their respective countries. There are 18 participants (10 male and 8 female) distributed as 10, 5 and 3 participants coming from government agencies, academic institutions and owner or officers of private companies, respectively. The following are the participating countries:

Bangladesh – Ms. Parag
Additional Secretary
Ministry of Industries
Government of the People’s Republic Of Bangladesh

Cambodia – Mr. Phanith Him
Deputy Director
National Productivity Center of Cambodia
Ministry of Industry and Handicraft

China, Republic Of – Ms. Yen-Chi Tung
Specialist, Poultry Industry Section
Department of Animal Industry
Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan

IR Iran – Dr. Farzaneh Anssari
Head, Food Industry and Agriculture Faculty in Standard Research Institute
Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI)

Dr. Soheyl Eskandari Gharabaghlou
Faculty member and Head of Food Chemistry with Animal Origin Laboratories
Food and Cosmetic’s Supervision and Evaluation
Ministry of Health and Medical Education

India – Dr. Anurag Singh
Assistant Professor
National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management

Dr. Naresh Kumar Sharma
State Nodal Officer (Food Safety)- Punjab
Commissionerate Food and Drug Administration Punjab, India

Indonesia – Mrs. Dini Ririn Andrias
Lecturer/Secretary of Bachelor Degree Program of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health,
Airlangga University

Malaysia – Mr. Bin Ahmad Rumzi
Economy Affairs Officer
Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA)

Mongolia – Ms. Ariuntuya Batjargal
Officer, Department of Strategic Policy and Planning
Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Nepal – Mr. Shreeran Neupane
Food Research Officer
Department of Food Technology and Quality Control
Ministry of Agriculture Development

Pakistan – Mr. Kamran Ahmed Siddiqui
Manager of Compliance and Food Regulatory Affairs
Young’s Private Limited

Mr. Waqar Ali Khan
Joint Secretary
Ministry of Industries and Production

Philippines – Dr. Lotis E. Mopera
Director and Assistant Professor
Institute of Food Science and Technology
College of Agriculture
University of the Philippines Los Baños

Sri Lanka – Mr. Lal Keerthi Amarairi Gunawardhana
Chairman, Lucky Lanka Milk Processing Co. Plc.

Thailand – Ms. Pimpan Ngoented
Standards Officer, Professional Level
National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS),
Minsitry of Agriculture and Cooperatives

Dr. Suwimon Keeratipibul
Professor
Department of Food Technology
Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

Vietnam – Mr. Huu Huyen Tran
Inspector
Quality Assurance and Testing Center 1

SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY

Several methods of learning were utilized during the observational tour. Table 1 below shows the different topics covered during the study mission. The program started with series of lectures from highly qualified resource persons. The lectures started with the landscape of several food safety policies in Japan as well as concrete examples on the adaptation of those policies and the modifications made by the policy makers together with food manufacturing companies. Food safety in general is monitored by at least two government agencies namely: the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). Certifications of the SMEs were facilitated by the local government unit of each prefecture. However, only the structure of the Tokyo local government on food safety accreditation was discussed. This was complemented by the observational tour which includes different companies in 5 prefectures. The field visits allowed the participants to realize the implementation of the food safety management system in Japan. Further, the field visits as well as the lectures covered the entire food value chain, from the farm to the consumers which exemplifies the implementation of the FSMS in Japan. The participants were allowed to ask question at the end of each lecture or tour.

The participants were divided into groups at the beginning of the tour and were allowed to discuss learning experiences derived from the program. A presentation was made on the last day. Each group was obliged to choose three topics and requested to present country experiences and action plan related to the topics discussed.

LECTURES

Recent Trends of Food Safety: Policy in Japan
Dr. Goichiro Yukawa
Professor
Research Center for Advanced Science & Technology,
Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology

Introduction and Promotion of HACCP and Food Safety Management Systems in Japan
Dr. Yoshihisa Onishi
Technical Adviser
Japan Bentou Association

The Experience of the Japanese Food Processing SMEs on Food Safety and Quality Management
Mr. Shigeru Yoshida
Managing Director
Kamaichi Co., Ltd.

Undertakings to Ensure Hygienic Vegetable Production in Japan and Other Countries
Dr. Yasuhiro Inatsu
Leader of Food Hygiene Laboratory
National Food Research Institute (NFRI),
National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)

Food Safety Management -Prediction and Precaution with Risk Analysis
Dr. Yoko Niiyama
Professor
Agricultural Economics and Food Systems
Division of Natural Resource Economics
Kyoto University

Traceability in Food Chain; General Principles and Status in Japan
Dr. Yoko Niiyama
Professor of Agricultural Economics and Food Systems
Division of Natural Resource Economics
Kyoto University

APO MOSM on FSMS, 2016 3

FIELD VISITS

  • Mishima Foods, Kanto Factory,
  • Food and Agricultural Materials Inspection Center (FAMIC)
  • Meiji Naruhodo Factory Osaka
  • Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
  • AEON Agri Create Co., Ltd., Mikisatowaki Farm
  • Yamasa Kamaboko Co., Ltd, Yumesaki Factory
  • National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)
    (i) Research Institute of Food and Agriculture
    (ii) National Institute of Food Research

Megumilk Snow Brand Co., Ltd, Ami Plant

APO MOSM on FSMS, 2016 2
OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

The archipelagic nature of Japan proved to be a challenge in the implementation of the food safety program of the government. However, this disadvantage was not reflected in several companies that we have visited. The central government has managed to cascade the responsibility of handling food safety concerns to the local government down to the small companies and retailers. It enables the participation of the municipality in the implementation of food safety programs mandated by law through a certification system monitored by national government agencies. Through this system the objectives of the government in achieving food safety throughout the country is translated to everyone. From my point of view as an educator, it is important. A highly inclusive program will enhance cooperation amongst the member of the community. This is what makes a FSMS effective. Community involvement also make is easier to control quality assurance concerns in term of food safety. Farmers for instance are well aware of their role in the entire food value chain. Everyone’s role is important and accounted for. This is the Japanese way and is an effective one.

This highly organized food safety management system of Japan was well presented in this study mission. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the Japanese have manage to modify some international guidelines on Food Safety and have adopted such in their own country. Not forgetting globalization, most companies adopt the HACCP as well as ISO programs but they have incorporated certain modifications such as incentivizing and constant retooling of their employees for their awareness of food safety system.

These simple methods of compliance to the companies regulations on food safety system allowed the participants to realize that implementation of food safety programs are possible even if highly sophisticated equipment are absent. But of course, those equipment are completely necessary for companies who catered to a bigger market. For instance, mechanized air curtain/blower before entry to the production area is a must for most companies we visited in Japan. In the Philippines, only multinationals or big companies can afford to employ such inside the workplace. The use of PPE, which is high adaptable in the Philippines, can be imitated for implementation food safety system. Although most companies in the Philippines as well aware of ISO and HACCP, I have only visited a few food companies who adopt the complete PPE uniform to comply to ISO or HACCP.

The visits to the companies were complemented by the lecture before the field visits. The lecturers were very effective in providing an understanding of how the Japanese laws, policies and guidelines have evolved through the years with food safety of the general public in mind and how the Japanese government addressed those issues. The traceability within the food value chain was well articulated particularly by the Prof. Niiyama of Kyoto University. She emphasized the importance of having a food safety management system to stay on top of the situation in case there is a deviation from the implemented food safety system. Her examples as well as the examples of the other speakers gave a comprehensively describe the entire food value chain together which makes it easier for the participants to understand the observational tour later in the program.

The participants were also given the chance to interact and share their own experiences. In general, majority of the ASEAN countries shared the same challenges as the Philippines. Implementation of FSMS, however, varies per country depending on the policies of the government.

All the companies and resource persons were one and the same in saying that a comprehensive food safety system should be implemented by 2020 in time for the Tokyo Olympics, again, the Japanese had public safety in mind, the very reason why a food safety management system should be in place.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

Majority of the participants from the member countries concluded that Food Safety Management is not a task by a single agency rather it requires a multidisciplinary (involving the food sector, health sector and agriculture and other related agencies) approach to formulate an effective program. In general, it is recommended that APO and its member countries should consider the role of SMEs in the implementation of a Food Safety Program. The APO can participate in educating the policy making bodies in the formulation of guidelines for food safety management by conducting similar training programs.

In the Philippines, a Food Safety Act with Implementing rules and regulations have already been released. However, this information is probably not known to almost all of the SMEs in the country. The NPO should take part in the promotion and education about the Food Safety Act and probably help capacitate some SMEs in terms of finances for adopting a Food Safety Program. The NPO should also encourage the participation of government agencies with capabilities to conduct training programs on Food safety management system. NPO should also participate in conducting training programs for farmers, entrepreneurs, processors, LGUs, etc. to encourage participation in implementing the provision of the Food Safety Act. In addition, the implementation is a function not only of the DOH who is in charge of the implementation of the law but requires the participation of other agencies as well. Just like the system in Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry should be take part in monitoring and evaluation of the provisions of the Food Safety Act. On this note, UPLB, specifically the Food Science Cluster have always take part in the process of policy making by attending forums and writing position paper on the implementation of certain provisions.

The knowledge gained from this study mission can easily be disseminated through the students in various courses handled by the institute. These students will used the knowledge gained in their respective workplace usually in food companies and other academic institutions upon graduation or even in their own food businesses. Extension activities like preparation of IEC materials like videos, poster together with the students can also help in promoting food safety systems. The FSC also helps SMEs in laboratory analysis and gives technical advice for product registration as part of the implementation of the Food Safety Act.

SUBMITTED BY:

LOTIS MOPERA, PhD
Assistant Professor and Director
Institute of Food Science and Technology
College of Agriculture
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Email: lemopera @ up.edu.ph

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