Saturday, January 7, 2012


With the establishment of World Trade Organization (WTO) the world is becoming a global village with national borders becoming increasingly irrelevant. International food trade calls for mutual confidence among the importing and exporting countries and lately there appears to be cracks developing in the fabric of global food business due to stresses and strains caused by increasing episodes of food poisoning reported from different parts of the world. There are well established quality, safety and management standards for the food manufacturing industry to follow and if strictly complied with there should not have any reservation regarding a free trade regime beneficial to all. Unfortunately these are breached accidentally, willingly or by natural causes and when this happens, the confidence in the system is shaken. Key to maintaining vigil on safety is the competence of personnel manning different facets of manufacture and the recent initiatives in this direction through global alliance efforts are most welcome. The certification programs carried out world wide will go a long way in augmenting the personnel pool for serving the food industry. Here are some facts about this initiative.

"The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) has become the first and only food safety manager certification program to be accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) based on the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standard for conformity – general requirement for bodies operating certification of persons. The ISO/IEC standard is globally regarded as the standard for organizations operating certification programs and providing assurance that the certified body meets the requirements of the certification.  NRFSP maintains its existing CFP accreditation and has added the more rigorous accreditation to support, among others, multinational food organizations seeking a food manager certification that has multi-jurisdictional acceptance. "We're extremely proud of this accreditation," said Lawrence Lynch, president of NRFSP.  "It establishes a new benchmark in food safety assessment and represents our commitment to help retail food service organizations around the world in their role to protect the public against foodborne illness and comply with increasing government regulations and mounting public concerns regarding food safety." NRFSP helps thousands of restaurant and food service organizations uphold essential food safety personnel standards through its certification programs.  NRFSP's relationship with UK-based Chartered Institute of Environmental Health will further expand the organization's reach into the global food safety network. NRFSP has partnered with Pearson VUE and will use that company's computer-based testing centers to deliver the NFRSP ISO-accredited certification exams around the world. Food safety manager certification helps ensure a safer dining environment and mitigates the risk of outbreaks of foodborne illness, which offers significant protection and peace of mind to the public and any food service organization. Increased public scrutiny from both government agencies and the general public following mass media coverage of several severe outbreaks of foodborne illness has elevated expectations of food service organizations to take a more proactive approach to their responsibility to protect the food supply chain.  The expectations reach from the farm where food is grown to the retail establishments where it is sold. "With massive foodborne illness outbreaks grabbing headlines around the world and a growing public mandate for accountability, the conditions are right to establish a global standard for food safety manager certification," Lynch added.  "Food safety is a high-stakes situation and by collaborating with Pearson VUE, we'll be able to leverage its technology to deliver better exams."

If there is uniformity in the training program content likelihood of any misinterpretation or unnecessary wrangling over quality may not happen ensuring unhindered business deals across national borders. Probably the FSSAI in India must consider exposing the safety management personnel who are expected to shoulder the burden of safety monitoring in the country through a bilateral and continuous arrangement. India needs at least 10000 personnel on the ground to manage food safety vigilance program for the next 5 years. 


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