SINGAPORE – Singapore recently hosted the fifth annual meeting of the International Heads of Food Agencies Forum (IHFAF), showcasing a united effort to address food safety challenges and promote sustainability on a global scale.

The event, held from April 16 to 20, brought together heads of food agencies from 17 countries and 22 organizations, including key stakeholders such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Under the theme “Food Safety for a Resilient and Sustainable World,” the IHFAF meeting sparked discussions on pressing issues, including the intersection of climate change with food safety, climate resilience, sustainability, and novel foods regulatory frameworks.

The forum provided a platform for sharing insights, best practices, and collaborative strategies to enhance global food safety standards.

One of the notable outcomes of the IHFAF meeting was the signing of a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

This landmark agreement signifies a commitment to collaboration in food safety research, risk assessment, and knowledge exchange. Tan Lee Kim, SFA’s director-general and deputy CEO, expressed optimism about the partnership’s potential to strengthen food safety science in both countries.

National perspectives and collaborative efforts

Dr. Hisham bin Saad Aljadhey, CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), led discussions on safety assessment, regulatory frameworks, and risk communication for novel foods.

Representatives from other agencies, such as the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), emphasized the importance of global collaboration in ensuring swift responses to emerging food safety risks.

Reflecting on the event, Sandra Cuthbert, CEO of FSANZ, highlighted the interconnected nature of food systems and the significance of collaboration among international agencies. She expressed gratitude for the open exchange of information and announced anticipation for the next forum in Chile.

The IHFAF meeting in Singapore served as a testament to the collective commitment of food safety agencies worldwide to safeguard public health, promote sustainability, and foster collaboration in addressing evolving food safety challenges.

Through continued partnership and knowledge sharing, the global community aims to build a resilient and sustainable food system for future generations.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.