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Food Safety in the Asia-Pacific region

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the World Bank Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen collaboration on food safety in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for over 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly half of global food production.

The APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance’s Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank will work together closely on training programs to improve food safety standards and practices in the region, as well as to facilitate trade.

The programs will enable more growers, producers and food safety officials to understand and utilize preventative controls –resulting in safer food for consumers and fewer safety incidents in food trade.

“Food trade is increasingly becoming a global issue with complex and inter-related supply chains, which raises the need address the question of food safety,” said APEC Secretariat Executive Director, Ambassador Muhamad Noor.

Ambassador Noor added that global and regional cooperation on building the capacity of regulatory systems is key to reducing food incidents and boosting trust in trade. This enhances domestic commerce and export markets.

“More widespread movement of food and livestock around the world requires vigilance on food safety and disease risk,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “More exacting standards pose challenges to poor farmers competing in these growing markets.”

Signing the MoU with APEC, Andersen said, “Food safety is an increasingly significant part of the World Bank’s lending and technical assistance programs in East Asia and the Pacific, as well as in other regions. We are extremely pleased to be working with APEC to bring more attention to this critical issue. This new agreement will strengthen our joint efforts to mobilize resources and promote and support capacity building to better ensure food safety concerns,” she said.

Andersen and the co-chairs of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum, Steve McCutcheon from Australia and Lin Wei from China, signed the MoU in the margins of a series of APEC meetings currently underway in Big Sky, Montana.

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