Good Governance of Veterinary Services: Workshops/Seminars

Workshop for OIE National Focal Points for Animal Production Food Safety (Singapore, 12-14 October 2010)

The first Workshop for OIE National Focal Points for Animal Production Food Safety in the Region of Asia and the Pacific was held from 12-14 October 2010 in Singapore, hosted by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) in Singapore. It targetted the Focal Points for Animal Production Food Safety nominated by the OIE Delegates in the Region.

The aims of this Workshop were 1) To provide the national veterinary authorities with information on the role and responsibilities of Veterinary Services in ensuring food safety of animal origin products, 2) To present the existing relevant OIE and Codex international standards, 3) To allow for experience-sharing on legislation and implementation of food safety controls at national and regional levels, 4) To share their experience and problems regarding the implementation of OIE standards on Animal Production Food Safety.

Out of thirty one Members in the Region, a total of twenty three Members attended the Workshop. They were composed of the following three categories,1) Focal point: Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, PR China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Nepal, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, 2) OIE Delegate: Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea and 3) other nominated personnel : Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, Korea RO, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Hong Kong, SAR was also invited and attended as an observer. A total of 40 persons attended the workshop, including the observers. It was noticed that this occasion has helped to accelerate the designation by OIE Delegates of National Focal Points for Animal Production Food Safety.

In the Opening Session, the remarks from Dr I.Shimohira, OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Dr Y.Atagi, Deputy Head of OIE International Trade Department, and Dr Stuart Slorach, Chair of the OIE Working Group on Animal Production Food Safety, were made. At the end of this session, on behalf of Dr Chew Siang Thai, Director General of AVA, Dr Paul Chiew, Director General of Laboratories Division welcomed the participants. In their opening addresses, the necessity for international food safety standards and good cooperation between the OIE and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) were stressed.

The speakers from OIE started their presentations by General Information on the OIE and its activities, including its work for good governance of Veterinary Services and its role in international trade, understanding that the participants from the Animal Production Food Safety area were not necessarily very familiar with the OIE.

After the presentation of General Information, OIE speakers and Dr S. Slorach also explained the role of the Working Group on Animal Production Food Safety, and detailed the relevant OIE standards on Animal Production Food Safety as follows:1) Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of animals, 2) Identification and traceability, 3) Prudent use of antimicrobials, 4) Salmonellosis in poultry, 5) Animal Feeding, 6) Control of Aquatic Animals (feed and food safety) and 7) Sanitary certification.

On the second day, after the presentation of OIE Standards and related information from OIE, the activities of the OIE Collaboration Centers (Animal Feed Safety and Analysis, Food Safety), including feedback from an OIE regional workshop on animal feeding held in July 2010, were introduced by Dr Katuaki Sugiura from the Food and Agriculture Materials Inspection Center (FAMIC) and Dr Tsutomu Sekizaki from Research Center for Food Safety, the University of Tokyo. In addition, presentations on "The consumers expectation of animal production" and "Collaboration between the Veterinary Services and private sector" were made by the representative of the relevant organizations in Singapore (Dr Chang Siow Foong from Intervet Norbio and Mr Seah Seng Choon from the Consumers Association of Singapore) respectively.

In the Country Report session, Thailand, PR China and Japan provided the presentations on the implementation of OIE standards. PR China mentioned the implementation of a new animal traceability system for rapid identification and traceability of animals in a disease outbreak scenario. Thailand described the legislation, control and inspection of poultry meat and poultry products for export, as well as the introduction of compartmentalisation for poultry farms. Japan touched on the BSE situation and the implementation of the beef traceability law.

On the third day, the participants broke out into the two groups and discussed the present situation, constraints and strategies for the implementation of OIE standards in two selected topics, 1) Identification and Traceability and 2) Sallmonellosis in poultry respectively. After the group discussion, the appointed person from each group (Pakistan and New Zealand) reported the summary of each discussion.

In the discussion on identification and traceability, the need for clear objectives and appropriate target population as well as challenges to involve stakeholders (farmers and veterinarians) were highlighted. The benefits should be clearly identified / explained and ideas to overcome challenges (such as illiteracy) should be considered to encourage participation. It was suggested that each OIE Member could conduct a pilot project in a limited animal population to analyse and see how an identification and traceability system should be implemented throughout the territory.

With regard to the discussion on Sallmonellosis in poultry, the group found that there were very large differences between the current systems of salmonella control in the region. The priority for disease control varied across countries, as well as the presence of legislative control. The group noted that OIE standards for salmonella control are mainly focused on large scale production systems, despite the fact that there is still a large percentage of backyard farming in the region.

At the end of the Workshop, Dr Slorach wrapped up the session and the Workshop made the conclusions as attached below.