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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and U.S. government and World Bank officials have formed an innovative public-private partnership that has pledged $1 million toward the creation of the world’s first Global Food Safety Fund for capacity building. To be administered by the World Bank, the proposed fund will employ the tripartite approach pioneered by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which offers training to a wide range of stakeholders to improve food safety and facilitate trade.
The APEC Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, was the venue for the unveiling of the partnership. Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of Washington-based GMA, was joined on Nov. 12 by World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati; Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, deputy U.S. trade representative; Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs; Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; Frank Mars, president, Mars Symbioscience; and Dr. Rohit Khanna, VP, worldwide business, Waters Corp.
“GMA was honored to be a founding member of a unique partnership in APEC that inspired the concept of the fund’s creation,” noted Bailey. “In APEC, we brought together food safety regulators, multilateral institutions like the World Bank, academia and industry -- stakeholders all focused on a common mission of improving food safety. Building on the landmark MOU between the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank signed in May 2011, the proposed fund will leverage APEC’s unique food safety training programs, together with World Bank international reach, to help improve the safety of the global food supply – in APEC economies and beyond.”
Public and private sector stakeholders have earmarked $1 million to create the fund, which is expected to grow to $15 million to $20 million over the next decade.
The fund’s three main food safety goals are as follows:
- Developing, testing and validating pilot programs in APEC that will result in reproducible training modules that can be tailored for rollout to developing countries worldwide. These programs would focus on critical needs -- supply chain management, food safety incident management, laboratory competency, risk analysis and bolstering food safety regulatory systems.
- Dealing with high-priority food hazards such as aflatoxins in grain, Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and viral and bacterial pathogens in seafood.
- Strengthening analytics and metrics, which are necessary for consistent, reliable and scaleable testing, designing and evaluation of the performance of food safety systems.
“Food and beverage companies have a vast amount of experience, knowledge and understanding when it comes to developing and manufacturing safe products,” said Bailey. “We know what works, what doesn’t work and how to apply best practices along the entire global supply chain to ensure our products are safe. This fund will allow us to share our skills and technical expertise in food safety on a much broader scale.”
Bailey went on to thank USAID, Mars Inc. and Waters Corp. for providing the needed seed funding to create the fund.