Advisory Committee Meeting 13th February 2013_ meeting



Advisory Committee Meeting 13th February 2013_ meeting
Advisory Committee Meeting 13th February 2013 15.30- 17.00 GMT
(tele/video conference call)
Development of FAO’s Food Control System Assessment Tool
Meeting minutes
1. Participants, agenda and supporting documents
The participants are listed in Appendix I.
The agenda is outlined in Appendix II
The supporting documents provided before the meeting are in Appendix III
2. Meeting notes
The co-chairs were Catherine Bessy and Andrijana Rajić. The meeting started with round
introductions of all participants.
2.1. Background/rationale for FAO’s initiative: Development of FAO’s Food
control system assessment tool (by Catherine Bessy (FAO, Food Safety
and Codex Unit)
a. Initiative objective/ targeted users/ approach/ timelines
b. Advisory committee roles and responsibilities
To develop, pre- test, validate and produce a comprehensive, robust and userfriendly Food Control System Assessment Tool.
This is natural progression of the FAO tool: “Strengthening national food control
systems: Guidelines to assess capacity building needs”.
Targeted users
Primary users are food safety authorities at the country level. The tool would guide
capacity assessment and prioritization of capacity building needs for the following
Country-level self- assessments (internal process aiming at identifying main
strengths and weaknesses of the food control system and strategic choices for
the improvement of its performance, taking into account often (very) limited
More structured and transparent discussions with an external trading
partner with a view to open trade routes: it is important that both partners
actively contribute to such assessment and that the tool is shared and applied
using transparent process. .
Guiding and Formulating technical assistance programmes provided by
international organizations. These are often requested to bring technical
support and improve the performance of the food control system (or part of).
A transparent, comprehensive and technically validated assessment tool is a
compulsory first step to in order to better prioritize the needs, establish sound
baselines and provide technical assistance that can be eventually followed up
and complemented by other partners.
Expected outputs
 Shape of final product: checklist, exploring different dimensions of the food
control systems, defining core competencies for each dimension, and providing
indicators for each competency.
 Part of a package: should be accompanied by guidelines for correct use and
interpretation by users of the checklist + other supporting information and
 Consideration will also need to be given to the format: software, web-based? to
facilitate use.
 Develop, discuss and finalize the process for establishing a tool (checklist)
Process approach and timelines
Initial step: review of existing tools
o Understand what is “out there” – some tools will enquire more specifically
on one aspect of a food control system (e.g. labs – we can’t afford re- do
some work that is already out there)
o Learn from their improvements (PVS and PCE both underwent a review
and improvements)
o Review the approach for structure
o Review the approach for indicators (5 scale?...)
Set up collaborative process for this:
o Regular internal meetings
o Advisory committee meetings: WHO, UNIDO, OIE, IICA, USDA,
USFDA, CFIA, FVO, South Africa, Thailand, Academia (University of
Guelph and Reading). Meets through Tele/video CF on a regular basis. If
need be – face to face meeting on selected issues or at key steps.
o FAO tool – but open to contributions
By end March we should have a draft outline of the checklist including
dimensions and competencies.
Next meetings: AC in April: confirmation of dimensions of checklist =>
finalization of the outline of checklist/core competencies before going into
development of indicators
May/June: further development of indicators/ pre testing in Zambia ( GFSP)
End June: comprehensive draft checklist, including indicators?
July/August: second pilot testing (country not yet identified)
End September: validated checklist, draft guidance for use (deriving from pilot
testing) / package, some more thinking around checklist format
End December: work on checklist, package and format hopefully finalized.
This is our planned timeline but some flexibility about timelines (and potential delays) might
be necessary to assure that overall process and approach for developing the tool is robust
c. Questions/ Clarifications
A question on the role of the advisory committee in the development
and validation process was rise. Is the advisory committee included in
the work of the checklist?
FAO- AC would be consulted when we have reached the milestone, for
critical review and advice, most probably through tele and video
conference calls. This should happen on a regular basis; if needed we may
set up a face to face meeting in the future on selected issues. Current AC
mainly of the review of tools performed; next AC most likely to be on first
draft structure of checklist. All contributions will be recognised.
2.2. Overview of relevant capacity assessment tools
2.1. Presentation given Katharina Stärk (FAO Consultant) on Technical synthesis
of relevant capacity assessment tools is provided as PPT file in Appendix IV.
2. Group discussion
a. Feedback on the overview provided (other relevant tools; information on
coming initiatives)
b. Brainstorming on scope and structure of the proposed FAO tool
(dimensions, modules, competencies)
Comments on terminology
A question on terminology was posed on capacity- the suggested definition is linked
to an individual and not an organisation.
Comments on definitions
As for definitions- any relevant definitions from ISO 22 000?
Further comment received via e-mail (14th February 2013) by David Jukes (University of
Definitions: wherever possible it is sensible to use definitions which have been
accepted and used elsewhere when this is appropriate. It is therefore worth spending a
bit of time checking related documents – in particular ISO standards. For example,
ISO 9000 gives the following: ‘competence - demonstrated ability to apply knowledge
and skills’. Another termed used in ISO 9000 is ‘capability’ which is defined as:
‘ability of an organization, system or process to realize a product that will fulfil the
requirements for that product’ (but note that ‘product’ is defined as ‘the result of a
process’ so could be regarded as ‘consumer protection’ or ‘assurance of the quality
and safety of food’). Perhaps therefore ‘capability’ would be a better term (although
this is very similar to the word ‘capacity’).
Comments on private standards
Further comment received via e-mail (14th February 2013) by David Jukes (University of
Relationship to Private Standards: Although the ‘private standards’ raise difficulties
when discussing national regulatory standards and the SPS committee has spent
several years debating the concept and not getting very far, they have been very
successful and are an established part of the food supply chain. Since there will have
been thousands of audits using these standards and that they have mostly been
developed over time with several different editions/versions, there may be things that
can be learnt from their contents and methodology. Assessing a national food control
system is a very similar process to conducting a food safety/quality audit in a major
manufacturer. There is a standard against which the organisation will be judged, there
are auditors (with appropriate training and competence) who will be using checklists,
and there will be a judgement regarding conformance and non-conformance (which
may be minor or major non-conformities). Although there will be different elements
there will be similarities (e.g. HACCP for a food business might become risk analysis
for a national food control system). There may be useful additional elements which
could be incorporated into the output from this exercise. Something like internal
audits are required in most private standards – this is touched on in the FAO capacity
assessment guidance but not as a regular or routine measure where the national food
control system assesses its own capability.
Comments on the ability to assess a single aspect of a system
Further comment received via e-mail (14th February 2013) by David Jukes (University of
As regards the ability to assess a single aspect of a system (e.g. the export
controls). When considering international trade, the assessment of export controls can
be important. For example, the EU’s FVO visits 3rd countries and their focus is on the
ability of the country to ensure that exports comply with the EU’s requirements and
have little interest in the ability of the country to protect its own citizens. since the
objective is to provide a single assessment document for a country but some of the
detailed items may need to take into account different approaches to the control of
export or internal trade adopted by some countries.
Comments of other existing tools
IICA provided updates concerning their PVS/food safety services tool – more details
should be sent by email and the synthesis report will be subsequently amended.
There are some more new complementary tools by IICA (PVS)- assessment of
performance of labs services, assessment of food inspection service -> will be sent for
Comments on the on scope and structure of the proposed FAO tool (dimensions,
modules, competencies)
Reference was made to the current structure of the CCFICS document on principles
and guidelines for national food control systems 1) policy setting 2) system design 3)
implementation 4) monitoring and system review. This could be a way of structuring
the main “modules” of the assessment tool.
Consideration will be given to this, along with other options.
Any other comments
The issue on the availability of the tools used in the report was also mentioned- > all
the tools (except IPPC) are publicly available from the internet and also there are links
the report.
To facilitate the exchange of documents to all, the possibility of a web-based platform
between the participants will be explored. However, confidentiality of certain reports
and information provided must also be guaranteed when requested.
Several participants (Alexander, Julie, Ricardo, Juha) committed to send further
comments or information) after some more reflection.
3. Next steps/ meeting
3.1. Meeting minutes to be circulated to all the participants for their amendments
and complementary thoughts
3.2. Participants are kindly asked to provide feedback and any further comments
on the report or on any other relevant aspects by Thursday 27th February
3.3. Next advisory committee meeting planned to the second week of April (8th
- 12th April). More detailed information with proposed timing on the Doodle
poll to state your availability will be sent out soon to all the participants.
1) Scott McEwen- University of Guelph
2) Philippe Verger- World Health Organization (WHO)
3) Bernadette Abele- World Health Organization (WHO)
4) Derek Belton- World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
5) Julie Moss- U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
6) David Jukes- University of Reading
7) Zbignew Gacek- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
8) Alexander Lauro- U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA)
9) Ricardo Molins- Inter- American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
10) Ali Badarneh- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
11) Juha Junttila- European Commission, Food and Veterinary Office (FVO)
12) Katharina Stärk- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO
13) Catherine Bessy- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
14) Andrijana Rajić- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
15) Renata Clarke- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
16) Raili Pall- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Two other invited participants could not attend (Penny Campbell, Department of Health- food
control, MoH; Jongkolnee Vithayarungruangsri, Director, the Bureau of Food Safety
Extension and Support: BFSES, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand). They will be kept
informed of the results and discussions of the meeting.
The following points were discussed in the meeting:
1. Introduction to FAO’s initiative: Food control system assessment tool
a. Initiative objective/ targeted users/ approach/ timelines
b. Advisory committee roles and responsibilities
c. Questions/ Clarifications
2. Overview of relevant capacity assessment tools (presentation by Katharina Stärk)
3. Group discussion
a. Feedback on the overview provided (other relevant tools; information on
coming initiatives)
b. Brainstorming on scope and structure of the proposed FAO tool
(dimensions, modules, competencies)
4. Next steps/ meeting
The complete agenda can be found from the following document:
t agenda_First meeting_Feb-2013 (2) doc_ version 06 02 2013 (2).doc
Supporting documents
The participants were provided with the following supporting documents prior the
1) Report “Technical synthesis report including review, appraisal and summary of
relevant capacity assessment tools”
review assessment
tools (3).docx
2) PowerPoint presentation “Technical synthesis of relevant capacity assessment
Presentation D2
Presentation by Katharina Stärk (FAO Consultant) “Technical synthesis of relevant capacity
assessment tools”.
Presentation D2

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