Unsafe food threatens public health and undermines food security at local, regional and global levels. The benefits of extensive development activities targeting food insecurity are drained away when food products are contaminated. Microbial and chemical contaminants are of particular concern, as are fungal pathogens such as mycotoxins.
The Food Safety Network (FSN) directly supports the USG Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) and its goals of improving food security, reducing poverty, and reducing malnutrition.
Via interagency collaboration, the Food Safety Network provides access to knowledge and training to support efforts to integrate Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) interventions to address food safety, animal health, and plant health in trade along agricultural value chains.
Modern and reliable food safety systems are becoming a mandatory prerequisite for a country’s access to global markets. However, many developing countries’ exporters struggle to maintain compatible food safety systems along global supply chains. To reduce these challenges, the CET partnered with the USDA and the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) in the UK to develop an international training program on key SPS topics.
Participants complete engaging interactive web-based modules, and then apply the modules’ concepts to real-world agricultural trade activities during in-person workshops.
An additional benefit of this training is that participants will be prepared to deliver future trainings themselves, thus disseminating knowledge to prevent SPS/food safety problems and minimize risks of food crop disease.
The 14 plant health modules will begin to be rolled out starting in the summer 2017. They effectively teach how to incorporate and use science-based risk analysis concepts and tools in analyzing, establishing quarantine, and controlling pest diseases in your country.
The modules were first piloted in Pakistan in 2013. During the last in-country workshop, in April 2017, David Williams, Agricultural Attaché in Islamabad, reported: “The USDA SPS Distance Learning Training Course has significantly improved Pakistan’s ability to have trade dialogues based on science, not politics.”
A full report of the effectiveness of the blended learning program in Pakistan is available in the Program Evaluation Report.