AFBA Workshop: Risk-Based Food Inspection

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AFBA Workshop

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In light of the development in the food sector, food control has gradually shifted from end product inspection and testing with corrective actions to preventive checks on the controls put in place across the food supply chain. A risk-based approach has been suggested by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as a way of improving the effectiveness of inspection. In this approach, the focus is on the assessment of controls put in place in operations across the food supply chain. This helps to minimise exposure to food hazards, while at the same time making more efficient the use of the available resources.

This approach is also alluded in the ASEAN Food Safety Policy, a framework that sets up the principles to improve food safety and food safety regulatory systems in ASEAN member states. In the ASEAN Food Safety Policy, a consistent use of risk analysis principles is encouraged to be applied at the regional and national level, and used in the development of food safety control system.

A risk-based approach in food safety inspections systems calls for food inspector to understand the risk factors across the food supply chain. According to the Guidelines for Risk Categorization of Food and Food Establishments Applicable to ASEAN Countries, risk factors are related to food, as well as food businesses. Microbiological contamination or chemical hazards in food are the most frequent risk factors that lead to food-borne diseases. Besides the risk factors that are found in food, the risk factors that are associated with food businesses also need to be considered to achieve an effective food safety control. Risk factors that are associated to food products and processes would determine the risk classification of food and food businesses, respectively.

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