Food Safety for Aquaculture Products
Aquaculture products are proving to be one of the best selections for safe seafood consumption. This successful record is based on the ability to implement responsible controls from initial farmed production through final processing. In response, the RAF is actively building educational support to assure commercial knowledge for appropriate and current food safety controls.
RAF Education Platform for Food Safety
RAF is building an education platform formatted for ready access by Internet with topics and training programs for individuals, companies and organizations that want to advance the commerce of aquaculture products. Food safety will be one of the foundation components of the platform. Initial production of basic food safety education modules is in progress in various nations with established and growing production.
Initially, Malaysia was selected as a target nation for educational support. The selection was based on its potential growth and prevailing interests to advance. The RAF work was supported by a special program through the World Bank known as the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP).
One of the early activities of the GFSP was to extend the work on aquaculture food safety that had been undertaken by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a forum for 21 Pacific Rim economies that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The intent was to combine the strengths of the public, private and knowledge sectors for in-country capacity building for specific commercial sectors. RAF’s role was to focus on food safety for aquaculture products.
RAF work in Malaysia since January 2014 involved numerous group meetings with key interests and participants in pertinent government, industry and academia programs. These meetings involved the expected support and targeted audiences within Malaysia that represent the foundation for capacity building. Together they itemized needs, appropriate responses and ability to sustain training programs.
The response was a plan for the production of specific modules for the RAF education platform to support a cadre of existing and future trainers based in Malaysia. The trainers could involve participants from assigned agencies, private sectors or academic food safety programs. This approach utilized and integrated with existing and expected talent.
Production of the necessary education platform is in progress with a selection of training modules featuring knowledge and controls to prevent various food safety problems that have been identified as potential hazards in aquaculture production and processing. Topics range from best farming practices for particular aquaculture species to basic controls through good manufacturing procedures.
The module productions involve a unique format that was specifically selected to appeal to regional audiences, with topics and images that are recognized as in-country situations. This approach fosters an ownership concept that is essential to capacity building and sustainability. Likewise, this approach is very cost-effective in that the initial productions can be easily transformed with separate pictures and translations for modules to suit multi-cultural audiences and additional nations. The intent is to reach more audiences and nations without excessive costs for additional module production.
To date, a cadre of existing and future trainers has been identified in Malaysia and production of the food safety modules is proceeding, with plans to incorporate more regional components provided by the assigned trainers. Eventually, the finished products will be posted on the readily accessible RAF education platform with additional support materials pre-screened for appropriate content and utility. Likewise, the information in the various training materials will be aligned with existing regulatory mandates and certification programs to assure compliance.
The modules are envisioned as training units that can be used to satisfy required training, support on-the-job training programs or supplement academic curricula for future trainers. Overall, the objective is to produce food safety training that boosts in-country capacity through involvement and expected delivery with customized materials that are current and conveniently accessed.
In 2015, RAF will use the food safety training modules to complement a basic aquaculture HACCP training program being organized for the entire APEC forum. This approach, also supported by GFSP, will be a basic train-the-trainer program scheduled in Vietnam.
A selection of pre-approved trainers will convene (likely during May) for three days of training with presentations, practical demonstrations and module orientation. Again, the intent is to build a cadre of trainers for educational support on aquaculture food safety in their respective locations. This training program can enhance awareness and utility of the RAF education platform.