In the framework of the UNIDO regional programs in the Arab Region funded by Sida, UNIDO, in cooperation with the Arab Industrial Development, Standardization and Mining Organization (AIDSMO), organized the first Arab Regional Forum for voluntary third party assurance programmes (vTPA) on 30 August – 1 September 2022 in Amman, Jordan.
The Forum introduced the participants to the concept of vTPA programmes and the related Codex Guidelines as effective instruments for regulators to better target their inspections according to the level of risk posed by food businesses and to better direct the resources of their national food control systems.
Mike O'Neill, Head of Codex Policy and Strategy from the UK Food Standards Agency, presented the recently adopted Codex Alimentarius principles and guidelines for the evaluation and use of vTPA programs by competent authorities and the policy options therein. While he emphasized that the approach is voluntary for food companies and regulators, Steve Wearne, Chair of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, showed how vTPA programmes can reduce costs in inspection activities, yet increase resources allocated to high-risk activities or companies.
A total of 55 participants, including regulators from competent authorities and representatives from food production companies and accreditation bodies from 14 Arab countries learned about the advantages that the use of the vTPA approach could potentially bring to improve regional food trade on the basis of a public-private collaboration, and most importantly, for ensuring consumer protection.
This first event provided the basis for participants to identify priorities and activities, according to the needs and capacities of the region, in view of implementing a regional vTPA approach that will benefit the food industry, regulators and accreditation bodies alike. “We are constantly reminded that cooperation and harmonization among member states is critical for a successful execution of vTPA”, said Ms. Sulafa Mdanat, UNIDO country representative in Jordan.
For further information contact Ali Badarneh (A.Badarneh [at] unido.org)