Good Governance of Veterinary Services: Workshops/Seminars

OIE Regional Seminar for National Focal Points for Animal Production Food Safety, Tokyo, Japan, 31st Oct- 2nd Nov 2012

The OIE Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific organized the 2nd Seminar for OIE National Focal Points for Animal Production Food Safety in Tokyo from 31st Oct to 2nd Nov 2012. The first Seminar was held in Oct 2010 in Singapore.

About 60 participants attended, comprising National Focal Points or their proxies from 26 members in the region and a  wide range of resource persons and observers, including the Chair of the OIE Animal Production Food Safety Working Group and representatives from OIE Reference Centres, the Secretariat of Codex Alimentarius Commission and food industry associations.

The workshop was opened by remarks from Drs Itsuo Shimohira and Gillian Mylrea. Dr Toshiro Kawashima, Delegate of Japan to the OIE, sent welcome remarks on behalf of host country. Next, Dr Stuart Slorach, Chair of the OIE Working Group on Animal Production Food Safety, and OIE personnel provided the participants with information on the OIE, role and responsibilities of National Focal Points and Veterinary Services, objectives and work in animal production food safety, and OIE standards relevant to Veterinary Public Health.

In total about one day was dedicated to presentations on OIE work and on-farm control practices for a variety of important animal-origin food safety issues: salmonella and campylobacter in poultry, brucellosis and tuberculosis in cattle, trichinellosis in swine, and echinococcus, as well as a case-study of Escherichia coli infection. This series of presentations provided a good explanation of priority issues for veterinary services from the animal production food safety perspective. It was clarified that avian influenza and foot and mouth disease, which are repeatedly commented upon by participants during the discussion, although very important from the animal health perspective, were not food safety concerns.

In addition, as an issue of the moment, a team from the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Food Safety made a presentation about food safety risks caused by contamination from radioactive substances and related consumer concerns. This topic attracted attention from participants, as Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster caused anxiety in neighboring countries. Many participants commented on the freshness of the discussion from the perspective of a different discipline, i.e. social study of consumer behavior.

Substantial time was allocated to two small working group sessions. Session 1 was about information sharing, based on pre-submitted country reports on priority issues and experiences, which had been posted in the lobby for everyone's review. Following a brief presentation by Dr Hnin of the major findings from the country reports, participants were divided into four groups for discussion. Session 2 was about strategies implemented in countries regarding detection, prevention and control for particular pathogens:1) salmonellosis, 2) brucellosis and tuberculosis, and 3) parasitic diseases. Country participants were divided into these three groups based on their priority food safety concerns, each with one resource person as a facilitator. The discussion results were briefly presented at a plenary session.

An new feature of the seminar was a special session in the morning of Day 3 inviting the Codex Secretariat, taking advantages of the occasion of the biannual meeting of the Codex Regional Coordinating Committee for Asia (CCASIA) held the following week in Tokyo. Dr Yayoi Tsujiyama from the CCASIA organising team made paresentations on the history and ongoing collaboration between the OIE and Codex, current Codex issues, and Codex activities in Asia. Country participants were encouraged to improve communication with their domestic Codex counterparts.

At the closing session, the participants were reminded of their important role of reporting back to their Delegates and of sharing the knowledge gained at the seminar among relevant personnel in their countries. It was also noted that networking and coordination among Focal Points in sharing information and experiences was believed to facilitate the improvement of animal production food safety at national and regional levels.



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