Policy brief covers border denial due to food safety


Some countries are unable to meet other countries’ food safety standards, and related border denials contribute to food loss and waste, according to an expert policy brief.

The G20 is a forum of 19 countries and the European Union working on economic issues. It serves to coordinate the exchange of information between countries related to standards and regulations for internationally traded food.

The G20 Insights Platform is an initiative of the Think20 Network, a think tank that makes policy recommendations to the G20. Think20 is part of the Global Solutions Initiative.

Policy brief by IPB University in Indonesia Proposed three initiativesFirst, at the domestic level, it is important to invest in quality and food safety controls before agricultural products are exported.

Second, there is a need to establish a global information exchange between trading partners on procedures related to non-tariff measures. This requires developing domestic trade portals and creating helpdesk services run by the governments of both the exporting and importing countries. Third, international agreements on the exchange of information on food safety standards should be strengthened to help reduce the risk of refusal by importing countries.

get it right locally
Food safety issues are often the root cause of refusals by importing countries. Blocked goods include fish, vegetables, fruit, meat and meat products, cereals and bakery products.

According to the overview, the volume of food rejected by importing countries amounts to 649,000 tonnes globally, worth nearly $1.13 billion annually.

Importers may impose special conditions on the country of origin of rejected products. These can create barriers to trade, increase rejection, reduce product value, and ultimately lead to food waste. Rejected products may be re-imported into the country of origin, modified, sold locally, converted to feed, or destroyed.

The first proposal refers to the domestic agri-food value chain. Factors associated with pre-harvest food loss include product damage from factors such as pests and microbial contamination, chemicals, and physical issues such as improper handling and disposal due to lack of proper post-harvest techniques. included.

Gaps in infrastructure and facilities, including cold storage, continue to be a problem, especially in remote areas. An increase in imports from developing countries, many of which have not developed extensive food standards, contributes to refusals in importing countries.

Stakeholders along the national level supply chain should strengthen food quality control and food safety handling by improving export infrastructure such as landing facilities, cold chain management systems and laboratories. Strengthening the ability to enforce best practices such as Good Handling Practices (GHP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is also important, according to the brief.

Dealing with differences in standards
The inability to comply with food safety standards set by importing countries, primarily to protect domestic consumers, poses another challenge.

Each country has its own level of standards, and developed countries usually apply stricter standards than developing countries. This is exacerbated by the lack of institutions to assist and supervise exporters in meeting standards set by other countries. Differences in the use of technology between developed and developing countries in import and export activities can increase refusal cases.

To reduce food rejection rates in international trade, researchers will provide information related to export facilitation measures through digitization, increased transparency of domestic trade portals through electronic phytosanitary certificates, and regulations in exporting countries. I suggested establishing a helpdesk service.

A third proposal states that there is a need to strengthen cooperation between trading partners by applying international standards such as the Codex Alimentarius to reduce the amount of food rejected. However, some guidelines only address the problem after the food traded has been rejected and do not provide mitigation measures to reduce the occurrence of the problem.

One risk that needs to be mitigated is the slow notification of newly updated regulations on food safety standards in importing countries. In many cases, it takes too long to notify exporting countries of regulatory changes. Improving information exchange is key to mitigating this risk. Risks can also be reduced by developing forums to discuss new methods and techniques of food safety assurance in place in importing countries.

Standardizing best practices in handling rejected imported food can reduce loss and waste. Instead of automatically discarding all rejected food, it can be downgraded and treated as low quality food or feed without compromising safety.

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