10 July, 2019
The food safety system of Egypt is undergoing a major transition: the newly established National Food Safety Authority (NFSA). NFSA will oversee the safety of food products with the aim to improve the regulatory oversight and efficiency in the food system.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a workshop today to shed more light on risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety in the grain sector. Participants included both private and public wheat importers, flour millers, and other government agencies whose roles intersect with NFSA.
“Egypt’s food safety decision-makers have a promising window of opportunity right now to reorganize their networks and means of operating, which would result in savings overall and a more attractive environment for international investment,” said Iride Ceccacci, Principal of Agribusiness Advisory of the EBRD.
Standardizing inspection controls
In 2018, wheat imports amounted to 12.5 million tonnes with 7.5 million tonnes of that total going towards subsidized bread known as baladi bread; a key contribution to food security.
NFSA in collaboration with other government agencies, such as the Central Administration of Plant Quarantine (CAPQ), and private traders will play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of the grain sector. Handling grain inspection procedures to determine safety and quality of imported grains will be become the primary responsibility of the NFSA. This will result in streamlining the inspection procedures and saving costs for consumers.
The way forward
Having started discussions with NFSA in 2017 in its early inception days under the public-private policy dialogue in the Egyptian grain sector project, EBRD and FAO recognized the importance of NFSA’s development and conducted training and knowledge exchange on grain handling and inspection procedures.
“We stand committed in working with all involved in food safety in Egypt to enhance our capacities by operating more efficiently across the supply chain, thereby ensuring food security in our country for our people,” said Dr. Hussein Mansour, Chairman of the NFSA.
Now, as NFSA builds its institutional capacity, FAO and EBRD gear up to train food business operators and raise awareness around registration requirements and food traceability.
“Food safety is a major global concern. Egypt is giving top priority to food safety issues by establishing the National Food Safety Authority. FAO has been working with our development partners on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, sustainable agriculture, and good hygienic practices. We also support NFSA in preparing the capacity development plan to enhance food safety,” said Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt.
Read more about the public-private dialogue in the Egyptian grain sector project here.