Belarus is reviewing the system of food safety


Ensuring food safety was the subject of discussion of government representatives at the five-day talks held this week in Minsk, during which actions were agreed to complete the previous project and set priorities for future activities, writes The DairyNews with reference to FAO.

Agriculture and food production are the main sectors of the Belarusian economy. One of the most important points is that food must be safe for human consumption – whether these products are produced by local or foreign producers or are intended for domestic or export markets.

A solid foundation for such safety is a comprehensive food control system that meets modern requirements. In recent months, FAO experts, international and national experts have analyzed the structure and conditions available in Belarus to ensure food safety.

"Based on the received data and the position of the national authorities, we have identified a number of priority areas, on which we will work together to improve", said Mary Kenny, FAO expert on food safety and consumer protection.

The Ministry of agriculture and food and the Ministry of health care are the main stakeholders in Belarus, along with other state bodies such as the State veterinary service. Close cooperation between these participants is a necessary condition for a reliable and effective food safety control system, and the seminar held this week was an excellent starting point for future work.

The Russian Federation is the largest export market for Belarusian food products, and the government of Belarus seeks to support export diversification, as well as aimed at entering other markets. Some products (dairy products, honey, fish and gelatin) are allowed to enter the European market but meat export is prohibited. Expanding of possibilities to access markets will require compliance with the requirements of the foreign market.

Another priority is the process of accession of Belarus to the world trade organization (WTO), which requires negotiations on sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.

In this regard, the government plans to expand its capacity in such areas as food safety risk assessment, science-based standards, import and export control and certification. Belarus requested FAO to provide technical support and to help strengthen the capacity of state-owned laboratories to use modern detection and analysis techniques in accordance with international standards.

Kenny noted that Belarus is not alone in these initiatives. "Many countries in Europe and Central Asia are striving to improve agrifood trade, and to achieve this goal, food products must be safe", she said.

This week, high-level representatives of the sectoral ministries, veterinary and scientific institutions, who are clearly aware of the need to strengthen the national food control system, held direct and open discussions. Based on FAO assessments, they agreed to develop a set of priorities for the new FAO project, which will be launched later this year.



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