Food safety policy of iraq


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Food safety policy of iraq

  1. 1. SUGGESTED PLAN FORNATIONAL FOOD SAFETY POLICY OF IRAQ ByTalal K.Hasan, M.Sc.1 Nihad Saadoon Gheni ,M.Sc1Issam Abdulahad Betrous B.Sc 1 Adnan Abed Rajab Al-Temeemi M.Sc 2Sabah Faleih Al-Saadi ,B.Sc 3 Zainab Abdul Adheem Al-Zuraiji ,B.Sc4. 20111: Ministry of Planning …… 2. Ministry of Health…… 3. Ministry of Trade ….. 4. Ministry of Agriculture 1
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.0 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 3 2.0 INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES...................................................... 4 3.0 CURRENT FOOD SAFETY SYSTEMS IN IRAQ ................................. 5 4.0 FOOD SAFETY POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT WORK ............... 7 5.0 FOOD SAFETY POLICY OBJECTIVES .................................................... 7 6.0 POLICY ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................... 7 7.0 STATEMENT OF SCOPE .................................................................................. 9 8.0 DEFINITION OF FOOD AND STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES .. 10 9.0 POLICY STATEMENT ON FOOD SAFETY ..................................... 14 10.0 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES .................................................... 15 11.0 MONITORING AND EVALUATION .................................................... 21APPENDIX 1: CURRENT FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION IN IRAQ .................................... 22 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTIONThe protection of human, animal and plant health in today’s global food market is an importantchallenge that must be addressed through internationally recognised health and food safetysystems. Such systems must ensure that consumers are supplied with food that is safe toconsume, and that the country’s food sources are protected from pests and disease. This will beaccomplished by the establishment and maintenance of a rational, integrated farm-to-tableagricultural health and food safety system in Iraq that harmonises inter-agency efforts, minimisesinter-agency conflict and overlap, and ensures the protection of public safety in a mannerconsistent with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement of the World Trade Organization(WTO/SPS) and other international requirements.Iraq need to establish Food Safety Agency (FSA) that will be responsible for the implementationof a food safety programme for Iraq, and guide its ongoing administration. With a population of30 million persons, and in excess of a million visitors each year, it is of paramount importancethat the quality of Iraqi’s food supply meets the highest standards to satisfy domestic demand, andthe requirements of our international trading partners. The Iraq, therefore, must put wide plan tosuccessful implementation of the food safety policy. The food safety policy that will support theprogramme will complement several national policies in providing a framework for safe,sustainable and ethical food production in Iraq.A food safety programme is necessary in order to address food-related risks and to contribute tothe overall health and wellbeing of the population.Furthermore, the health-related emphasis of the food safety policy cannot be understated whenthe potential fall-out in the tourism industry from an outbreak of Travellers Diarrhoea iscontemplated. In addition, good food management practices will not only improve Iraq’sinternational competitiveness, but also heighten awareness within the Iraqis population,particularly when the link is made to lifestyle-related illnesses, and the community can shareresponsibility for addressing such threats as Microbial and chemical food safety hazards, such as Salmonella, Listeria and certain heavy metals; Pathogens emerging from the design of the food and agricultural systems, such as intensive livestock operations and the globalisation of distribution and processing; Hazards associated with technologies and their by-products, such as the use of pesticides, heavy metals, growth promotions, antibiotics, fertilisers and genetically engineered crops and foods; Hazards associated with technologies introduced to solve other food safety and quality problems, including additives and irradiation; and Hazards associated with new approaches to food as health delivery agents, functional foods and edible vaccines. 3
  4. 4. 2.0 INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICESIn the development of the Food Safety Policy the Jamaican model was used as a base for currentProject due to similarities between the two countries at several aspects, also an evaluation of thebest practices of the European Union, Canada and United States were incorporated.1European UnionThe European Union has established a European Food Safety Authority which speaks to riskanalysis, protection of consumers’ interests and imported, exported food. The tasks andcomposition of the Authority are clearly stated.The mission of the Authority is to provide scientific advice and scientific and technical supportfor the Community’s legislation and policies in all fields which have a direct or indirect impact onfood and feed safety. The Authority is comprised of a Management Board, an Executive Directorand his staff, Advisory Forum, Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels.The tasks of the Authority include promoting and coordinating the development of uniform riskassessment methodologies, providing scientific and technical support to the Commission andensuring that public and interested parties receive rapid, reliable, objective and comprehensibleinformation in the fields within its mission.CanadaThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency was established in 1997 by the Canadian Food InspectionAgency (CFIA) Act. It is a departmental corporation with separate employer status. Its primaryresponsibility is to enforce technical relations described in legislation pertaining to food safetyand to animal and plant health. It does this by providing inspection services such as registration ofprocessing plants, inspection of domestic and imported foods, certification of exports, andquarantine. Prior to the creation of the CFIA, inspection and related services for food safety andanimal health were provided by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Health Canada and theDepartment of Fisheries and Oceans. These three departments transferred about $330 million and4,500 full-time staff equivalents.The human resources implementation team developed criteria to identify those who move to theAgency. Individuals who devoted 60% or more of their time to inspection services weredesignated a dedicated resource and were transferred. In some cases, non-dedicated staff(thosedevoting less than 60%of their time to inspection programs) were given the option to volunteerfor transfer to any vacant positions. In other cases, transfers of staff were not feasible from theperspective of the parent department, and so dollars were transferred instead. This approach wasnot used to identify staff when they belonged to largely self-contained inspection units. Adeliberate decision was made to leave the details of the financial transfers and the human resourceframework until after the launch of the new agency. This led to a phased-in approach. Issues anddetails that could not be resolved before the legislation was passed and that were not crucial to thelegislation were deferred.The accountability regime is a mix of new and traditional approaches to governance. TheAgency’s regime retains the principles of parliamentary accountability and ministerialresponsibility. Two ministers are responsible for implementing the federal food safety program.1 Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL OF 28JANUARY 2002 4
  5. 5. The Minister of Agriculture is responsible for inspection activities; The Minister of Health setsfood safety policies and standards in the area of human health, and assess the effectiveness of theAgency’s related activities. 2United States of AmericaThe three branches of government; executive, legislative and judicial all impact on the USA’sFood Safety System. Federal, state, and local authorities have complementary and interdependentfood safety roles in regulating food and food processing facilities.US food agencies are accountable to the President, the chief executive, who has constitutionalresponsibility to assure that laws are faithfully executed; who appoints senior officials, and whoseOffice of Management and budget clears significant regulations. Food agencies are accountableto the Congress, the legislative branch of the US government, which provides the food agenciestheir authority and budget. They are accountable to the courts, the judicial branch of the USgovernment, which review food agency regulations and enforcement actions. The agencies areaccountable to members of the public, who regularly exercise their right to participate in thedevelopment of laws and regulations, such as commenting on proposed regulations whoseguidance is sought in frequent public meetings; and who provide strong support for food safetyregulation, the nutrition label, and other regulatory initiatives.33.0 CURRENT FOOD SAFETY SYSTEMS IN IRAQIraqi food safety programme is currently managed by a number of entities and agencies distributed acrossthe ministries of Agriculture (MoA), Health (MoH) ,Planning (MoP) - Central organization forstandardization and quality control COSQC Baghdad federal(f) / KSQCA Erbil regional (r),environment (MoE) for radiation ,MoT ministry of trade for ration card items and finally custom directorate at border.However, there is a lack of coordination of these activities, as no one ministry or agency has overallresponsibility for ensuring safe food production and compliance with international agreements. As a resultof this uncoordinated approach, there are a number of areas in which there is unnecessary duplication ofeffort and facilities. Some examples of duplication are in the areas of sampling, inspection, laboratorytesting facilities and training. These and other activities are set out in Table 1 below. Table 1 Summary of Existing Food Safety Activities Showing Samples of Duplication Food Safety Activities Ministries & Public Sector Agencies InvolvedInspection & Certification  Veterinary Services Division (VSD) –MoA Certification & Testing of Meat Products  MoH – Public Health Department for local consumption , export & import  COSQC_KSQCA /MoP  MoT  MoE Inspection & certification of foods and  MoA feeds at ports of entry, warehouses and  MoH retailers  COSQC – KSQCA /MoP  MoT  MoE Registration and inspection of all food  MoA2 1998 Report of the Auditor General of Canada 5
  6. 6. processing factories; sampling & testing of  MoH raw materials and finished products  COSQC-KSQCATraining  MoH Training of Meat/Food Inspectors in  MoP HACCP, general food safety and food hygiene Training & certification of farmers and  Under establishments pest control operators in proper and safe use of pesticidesPublic Education  MoH Public education & awareness on food  COSQC -KSQCA safety issuesLaboratory Testing Facilities  MoH Chemistry  MoA Microbiology  COSQC-KSQCA Entomology  MoT  MoEAs can be seen from this table, the responsibility for implementing the current food safetyprogramme is splintered across several agencies in the five (5) ministries named. It isencouraging to note that there is some level of cooperation and collaboration between somedirectorate and laboratory.The current Food Safety Legislation also shows overlap and duplication, at present a total sixActs cover food safety activities in Iraq that we can found (see Appendix). These Acts and theirattendant regulations are administered by the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Commerce,planning and Technology.An examination of these acts will reveal that there is: Evidence of overlap in the functions of the different Acts; Most have quite strong powers to ensure compliance, although the penalties to be imposed (weak) need to be upgraded in terms of current reality; and Some of the Acts were promulgated many decades ago and so need to be modernised. There is no clear separation between quality and sanitary requirements. There is no sign to risk analysis, evaluation and managements. And how to benefit from the scientific information on building the resolution to protect the consumer.There is an urgent need for the modernisation of legislation related to food safety, and thedevelopment of an Umbrella Legislation that would address the issues mentioned above.Any plan for implementing an effective food safety programme, including the creation of a FoodSafety Agency, must take into consideration these gaps, limitations and unnecessary duplications.Such a plan requires the formulation of an appropriate policy, the design of cost effectiveinstitutional structures, programmes and activities and the creation of a comprehensive andrelevant legislative framework. 6
  7. 7. 4.0 FOOD SAFETY POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT WORK Iraqi Cabinet must approve the National Quality Policy which we are going to prepare, and aftera complete discus it with all Ministries and NGO’s through the corresponding and the workshopmeeting that well be held later ,The Policy will be reviewed by SWEDAC Consultants . Thepolicy calls for the “regulation of foods, food products and food safety which shall be integratedthrough the establishment of a national food safety agency.” However, a comprehensive FoodSafety Policy and Programme needed to be developed. After discussions, the final policy submitsto Iraqi Parliament to approve as a law..5.0 FOOD SAFETY POLICY OBJECTIVES1. To have a system in place that will enable traceability of food from producer to consumer.2.To institute a system that will enhance Iraqi’s risk management capability.3. To upgrade system for administering international agreements with respect to food safety.4. To streamline institutional arrangements for efficiency and effectiveness.5. To promulgate a modern food safety umbrella legislation.6. To institute an appropriate institutional arrangement for accreditation.7. To establish systems that will ensure food produced by farmers is safe for consumption.8. To establish systems that will ensure imported food is safe for consumption9. To establish systems that ensure that food sold to the public by vendors, restaurants andprocessors is safe.10. To establish a coordinating mechanism for food safety activities6.0 POLICY ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONSIssue #1. TraceabilityCurrently there is a lack of proper system to facilitate traceability in animal and plant productsfrom farm to fork.Recommendation The Government of Iraq shall establish systems that facilitate traceability from farm to fork. Adequate procedures to facilitate the traceability of feed and food and their ingredients shall be introduced. These include the obligation for feed and food businesses to ensure that adequate procedures are in place to withdraw feed and food from the market where a risk to the health of the consumer is posed. Operators shall keep adequate records of suppliers of raw materials so that the source of a problem can be identified. 7
  8. 8. Issue #2. Risk Management SystemThere is a lack of proper infrastructures to facilitate risk management of food. Risk assessmentand risk management capabilities are required under the WTO/SPS Agreement to which Iraq istry to be member in near future. The Agreement requires that SPS measures that are implementedmust be supported by appropriate competencies and skills in this area.RecommendationThe Government of Iraq shall institute a formal risk analysis mechanism which shall include riskassessment, risk management and risk components. In addition, there shall also be a RiskAssessment Policy.Issue #3. Attendance at International Meetings and the Implementation of AgreementsThere is a need for Iraq to participate more in meetings in which international food safetyrequirements are being discussed e.g. CODEX Alimentarius, WTO/ SPS Agreement. Also thereis a need for closer monitoring and follow-up of food safety matters covered under internationalagreements. Currently there are several government as well as Private Sector Organizations thatmonitor international agreements, however, a timely response and subsequent implementation islacking.RecommendationThe Government of Iraq shall enhance participation in international meetings and theimplementation of agreements.Issue #4. Overlapping of certain food safety functionsCurrently there are overlaps in food safety activities such as inspection, certification, training,public education and laboratory testing facilities as shown in Table 1.RecommendationThe government shall identify the rules and to streamline the relevant institutions.Issue #5. Legislative gaps and overlapsThe implementation of the current Food legislation in Iraq is splintered across various Ministrieswhich leads to overlaps and in some cases gaps our team found that, “one of the main problemswith the current legislation is the lack of enforcement. This is due partly to the low level of fines,the lack of trained persons to prosecute offences and the inadequate financial commitment givento enforcement.RecommendationThe government shall promulgate a modern food safety legislation that will rationalize the currentones.Issue # 6. Lack of local accredited laboratories for food safety analysisSome trading agreements require that testing facilities used for food analysis must be accreditedby a recognized body. At present there are no local laboratories that are accredited. This situationimpacts on Iraqi’s ability to enter third country markets requiring this type of verification.RecommendationThe government urgently needs to establish an accreditation body that will accredit labs,inspection and certification bodiesIssue # 7 Food produced by farmers is not adequately monitored for safety 8
  9. 9. Farmers are producing and distributing food, which may have a high level of pesticide residue.The current system does not allow for speedy assessment and implementation of correctivemeasures.RecommendationFarmers shall be responsible for producing and selling safe food to the public. The governmentshall institute a food safety monitoring system to ensure that only safe food is available to thepublic.Issue # 8. Ensuring that imported food is safe for consumptionIraqais consume a large amount of imported food and currently the system of testing andinspection on arrival in Iraq is inadequate.RecommendationImporters of food shall be responsible for the safety of food brought into the country for sale tothe public. The government shall strengthen the current system for monitoring the safety ofimported food and for enforcing the regulations covering this food.Issue # 9. Need to ensure that food sold directly to the public is safeFood is sold directly to the public by a variety of sources e.g. food vendors, restaurants, andsupermarkets and at times there is no guarantee that the food being bought is wholesome. RecommendationRetailers shall be responsible for ensuring that food sold directly to public is safe. Thegovernment shall upgrade the current monitoring and enforcement system to ensure public safety.Issue # 10. Difficulties exist in coordinating the food safety function.At present there are many directorate and departments of government that are responsible for thesafety function along the food chain. This fragmented nature of the function has posed difficultyfor coordinating and streamlining activities and has resulted in overlaps and gaps in the country’sfood safety system.RecommendationThe government shall establish a coordinating mechanism such as an agency which shall beresponsible for coordinating food safety activities.7.0 STATEMENT OF SCOPEIn determining the scope of the food safety policy, it must be accepted that it has to be wide-ranging and adopted by a number of sectors in the economy, each with their own issues toresolve.This policy shall, therefore, guide the operations of various scientific, technical, operational andmanagement agencies in the public and private sectors. These entities are concerned with: Nutrition; Food hygiene; Public health; Plant health; Animal health; and International trade (imports and exports). 9
  10. 10. An underlying expectation of such entities is to provide public education in their respectivediscipline areas, and to deliver training within their area of competence.8.0 DEFINITION OF FOOD AND STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES  Definition of FoodFor the purposes of this policy “Food” or “Foodstuff” means any substance or product whetherprocessed, partially processed, or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to beingested by humans. “Food” also includes drink, chewing gum, and any substance, includingwater, intentionally incorporated into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment.Furthermore, Food, as defined for this policy, shall include food ingredients and derivatives, i.e. o Genetically modified organisms (GMOs); o Functional foods (foods which claim to have special properties valuable to health, but which do not have a medicinal product license); o Food additives; and Fortified foods (foods to which nutrients have been deliberately added).Food shall not include:(a) feed(b) live animals unless they are prepared for placing on the market for human consumption;(c) plants prior to harvesting,(d) medicinal products(e) cosmetics(f) tobacco and tobacco products(g) narcotic or psychotropic substances within the meaning of the United Nations SingleConvention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, and the Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances,1971;(h) residues and contaminants Food ChainIn accordance with international practice the food safety management must take place throughoutthe entire food chain. The Food Safety Policy shall therefore cover the entire food chain fromfarm to fork. The Food Chain is referred to at various points in the policy statement and thediagram below illustrates the stages of the Food Production Process (Figure 1). 10
  11. 11. Figure 1 – The Food Chain Supply of Agricultural Inputs e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, veterinary drugs Primary Production e.g. farmers, fishermen, fish farmers Primary Food Processing e.g. on-farm, dairies, abattoirs, grain mills Secondary Food Processing e.g. canning, freezing, drying, brewing Food Distribution e.g. national/international, import/export Food Retailing Food Catering e.g. supermarkets, shops e.g. restaurants, hospitals, schools DOMESTIC FOOD PREPARATIONAll aspects of food safety and the principles guiding its management are covered byinternationally-accepted definitions. These are documented in the various references highlightedin this policy paper with important definitions elaborated upon in Appendix 2. The principlesguiding the food safety policy are as follows: Risk Analysis: A formal risk analysis mechanism shall be instituted. This is a process consisting of three components: - Risk Assessment, which is scientifically based process consisting of the following steps: (i) hazard identification, (ii) hazard characterisation, (iii) exposure assessment, (iv) risk characterisation; - Risk Management, which is the process of weighing policy to accept, minimise or reduce assessed risk and to select and implement appropriate options; and 11
  12. 12. - Risk Communication, which is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion on risk among risk assessors, risk managers and other interested parties. In addition, there shall be a Risk Assessment Policy: Documented guidelines for scientific judgement and policy choices to be applied at appropriate decision points during risk assessments.  Traceability: Adequate procedures to facilitate the trace-ability of feed and food and their ingredients shall be introduced. These include the obligation for feed and food businesses to ensure that adequate procedures are in place to withdraw feed and food from the market where a risk to the health of the consumer is posed. Operators shall keep adequate records of suppliers of raw materials so that the source of a problem can be identified. Shared Responsibility: The guiding principle throughout this policy is that food safety management must be based on a comprehensive, integrated approach. This concept is illustrated in Figure 2 by a diagram from the World Health Organization who also makes the following statement: “A safe food supply that will not endanger consumer health through chemical, biological or other forms of contamination is essential for proper nutrition. Consumer protection and the prevention of food borne diseases are two essential elements of a food safety programme, and are the shared responsibility of national governments, the food industry and consumers.” Figure 2: SAFE FOOD FOR ALL SHARED RESPONSIBILITY Food Legislation and Educated and Good Practices by Primary Enforcement Knowledgeable Public Producers and Distributors Advice for Industry/Trade Discriminating and Quality Assurance and Selective Consumers Control of Processed Food Consumer Education Safe Food Practices in the Appropriate Processes and Home Technology Information Gathering and Community Participation Trained Managers and Food Research Handlers Provision of Health-Related Active Consumer Groups Informative Labelling and Services Consumer Education CONSUMER INDUSTRY/TRADE GOVERNMENT NATIONAL COMMITMENT TO FOOD SAFETY 12
  13. 13.  Precautionary Principle: Decisions on requirements and handling of food, feed, animal and plants shall be taken based on caution having regard for best scientific knowledge, and requires the taking of anticipatory action in the absence of complete proof of a threat. Doubt shall be considered to the favour of consumers and environment. Preventative Principle: Potential risks for food throughout the food chain shall be addressed at source, preferably through system analyses and control of critical points (HACCP, good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices, etc.). Use of resources: Resources shall be directed to problems that pose the most severe threats to health, and where the potential risk reduction is greatest in relation to the resources required. Transparency: In keeping with the goals of the Government of Iraq’s,the Public Sector Reform Programme, the food safety programme shall require transparency in dealings with consumers and producers. There shall be open communication in terms of making results of control activities and other studies public, e.g. via the Internet. Strategies shall be pursued to ensure that systems to trace food and feed back and forth in the chain are in place (see Traceability). Food Hygiene Principles: The Recommended International Code of Practice – General Principles of Food Hygiene issued by Codex Alimentarius4 contains the following opening statement: “People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption. Food borne illness and food borne injury are at best unpleasant; at worst they can be fatal. But there are also other consequences. Outbreaks of food borne illness can damage trade and tourism, and lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation. Food spoilage is wasteful, costly and can adversely affect trade and consumer confidence.” Consequently, the General Principles of Food Hygiene shall be adopted which entails the following actions on the part of the FSA: - Identify the essential principles of food hygiene applicable throughout the food chain (including primary production through to the final consumer), to achieve the goal of ensuring that food is safe and suitable for human consumption;4 Reference:Recommended International Code of Practice – General Principles of Food Hygiene (CAC/RCP 1-1969,Rev. 3-1997, Amd. (1999)) 13
  14. 14. - Recommend a HACCP-based approach as a means to enhance food safety; - Indicate how to implement those principles; andProvide guidance for specific codes which may be needed for (i) the sectors of the food chain; (ii)processes; or (iii) commodities to amplify the hygiene requirements specific to those areas.9.0 POLICY STATEMENT ON FOOD SAFETYOur first priority is to ensure the health and well-being of our citizens and visitors, and thosepersons around the world who consume food and foodstuffs originating in Iraq. We shall suggestimplement programmes that promote high standards of food hygiene, and maintain systems ofsurveillance and control to ensure compliance with those standards. Recognising that somemembers of the society may not have access to information on best food hygiene practices, or theresources to implement them to their fullest extent, we shall design and implement publiceducation programmes. We shall also suggest develop tools and techniques to achieve anacceptable baseline of food hygiene standards that will protect the most vulnerable segments ofour society.With our tropical and desert climate and fertile agricultural resources, Iraq is well-placed toproduce much of the food we consume. We are, however, prone to a range of plant and animaldiseases that affect both agricultural productivity and the wholesomeness of the food we produce. Since the safety of a country’s food supply ranks highly in the priorities of the Iraqis governmentand Iraq’s citizens in maintaining the overall security and quality of life in the nation, thenmeasures shall be taken to minimise these risks. We shall, therefore, use the technical andscientific resources at our disposal to ensure that proactive disease prevention measures are inplace and are maintained at all times. We shall also adhere to best practices in the areas ofpesticide and fertiliser usage, animal feed production, animal welfare, veterinary support andother factors that may impact on the quality of our food supply.Similarly, appropriate controls will be maintained in the processing of food products. Werecognise, however, that there is diversity in the food production resources in Iraq, ranging fromsubsistence farmers to “high-tech” production facilities, and programmes must be designed toinform and support baseline producers. The more sophisticated producer must be encouraged toextend their investment into properly maintained controls and self-regulation, where applicable.Iraq has agricultural produce and processed foods that are sought in the international marketsWhile we often meet challenges in remaining competitive, standards must be upheld at all costs.Indeed, access to international markets is often dependant on adhering to the standards of thedestination country, and, in particular, the requirements of the WTO/SPS agreements, such as theestablishment of risk assessment and management capabilities, and the use of accreditedlaboratory testing facilities.This dictates that Iraq must speedily move to ensure that its conformity assessment systems are inline with international practice as compliance with international food safety requirements will bemandatory.We recognise also that the world’s trading patterns are changing, with new markets opening up,and traditional assured markets coming to an end, and food safety requirements becoming morestringent and universal. Iraq’s food safety programme must, therefore, be responsive to thesechallenges, and by strengthening our efforts in managing our domestic market, we shall, by 14
  15. 15. extension, ensure that food produced in Iraq is of the required requirements wherever it isconsumed.As an importer of food, Iraq must ensure that inbound food products meet our nationalrequirements and is safe for its people to consume. Consequently importers are responsible forensuring that the food which they import into Iraq adhere to these requirements that we have setfor ourselves, as we will not accept food that does not meet the requirements set by Iraq’s foodsafety programme.It is expected that Iraq’s food safety programme will be implemented by 2017, and we shall be incompliance with a set of food safety standards that have been formally adopted by theGovernment of Iraq. Thereafter, we shall ensure that this baseline is sustained, and enhanced as local and internationaldevelopments warrant action on the part of those responsible for the country’s food safetyprogramme.The Government of Iraq, therefore:Declares the intention to focus its food safety activities on the food chain as a whole – from Farmto Fork – and, in so doing, seek cooperation from all stakeholders. Not only is this done for thebenefit of the citizen’s health and wellbeing, but also to protect the country’s economicdevelopment in such areas as tourism and foreign trade.Intends the policy to be adopted by the applicable Ministries and Agencies responsible for theareas shown in the Statement of Scope defined in Clause 7 of this statement, and that the policywill be administered by a designated Portfolio Ministry.Expects that users of this policy will adhere to a set of generally accepted principles 5 in themanagement of food safety as set out in the Statement of Principles set out in Clause 9 of thisdocument.Cognisant of the need to mandate the creation and management of the technical skills-baserequired to identify and deal with food safety hazards, the Statement of Strategies in Clause 11will be implemented in order to protect the integrity of the food supply mechanisms and preventoutbreaks of food-borne disease.10.0 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIESThis food safety policy shall provide the foundation for Iraq’s food safety programme and theinstitutional arrangements. In implementing this policy a collaborative approach, where all5 References:A Review of Canadian Food Safety Policy and Its Effectiveness in Addressing Health Risks for Canadiansby R. MacRae and J. Alden, November 2002. Assistance to National Authorities in Developing and Strengthening a National Food SafetyProgramme of the European Communities: White Paper on Food Safety, January 2000 15
  16. 16. stakeholders play a role in the food safety programme shall be used. Government shall providethe framework for its establishment and operationally but all participants in the Food Chain havespecific responsibilities, these are outlined in the strategies which follow: Information Gathering and Analysis: There are many methods and indicators to identify food safety programmes. They include data derived from controls carried out along the feed and food chain, disease surveillance, epidemiological investigations and laboratory analysis. It is expected, therefore, that those persons and groups responsible for information gathering and analysis will make such data available to all stakeholders in furtherance of the transparency and risk assessment principles. Where they do not currently exist, mechanisms shall be put in place to facilitate: - Monitoring and surveillance; - Rapid alert systems; - Research; - Scientific co-operation; and - Analytical support. Risk Assessment Risk assessment shall be carried out by an independent advisory committee, the membership of which shall be drawn from specialists in the various food safety risk areas and technical disciplines. This is a requirement under the WTO to which Iraq is still in the accession process, and SPS measures implemented must be supported by appropriate risk assessment capabilities, and Iraq will adopt the recommendations of the three sisters regarding risk assessment, also benefit from other Arab countries experience in this field and starting cooperation with them. Risk Management: This strategy anticipates the preparation, application and adoption of technical regulations relating to sanitary and phytosanitary measures by parliament and relevant ministries . Such regulations will form part of a modern, integrated and comprehensive legislative framework governing food safety in Iraq. Preparation of such legislation requires the consideration of the following factors: - The enforcement of food safety laws. - The role of the FSA with respect to preparation, adoption of laws and regulations, providing advice to ministries, and participation at the international level (Codex, IPPC, OIE); - The role of central government, and will the FSA be the sole body responsible for food safety issues; - The role of local government; - The role of NGOs in legislative work in terms of consultations, participation in boards, comments on laws and regulation, participation in crisis management committees etc. - The relationship with the epidemiological enforcement system and the formation of a standing committee as a forum for discussion when food scares appear; - The relationship with the environmental protection institutions on such matters as the use of resources and waste disposal throughout the food chain; 16
  17. 17. - The relationship with other ministries and agencies on such matters as responsibility for drinking water. Enforcement mechanisms are other aspects of the Risk Management Strategy, and this policy accommodates the option of using the FSA or accredited inspection bodies as the technical monitoring facility. Arising from this strategy, decisions are called for in relation to: - The effects on the existing institutions carrying out inspection and enforcement functions; and - The role of research facilities and laboratories in relation to risk assessment and general monitoring. In this respect, private entities will be required under the legislation to report diseases, etc. to the designated authority. Furthermore, the enforcement mechanisms shall be governed by Inspection Manuals that will interpret the relevant laws and clearly set out the requirements for a food safety system. Risk shall also be managed through prevention and recognition of food safety as a priority issue. To this end, the Government shall promote food safety locally and encourage the development of experts in the field by establishing a National Food Safety Council at the highest level, initiating training and education, promoting awareness through: - Patronage and sponsorship of food safety related activities by the State; - Promoting the concept of food safety in ministries and governmental institutions; - Establishing and funding of training activities; and - Linking food safety to other national policies. Risk Communication: Information on food safety risks shall be communicated to consumers through training, web- based media, television and radio, and printed publications. Such communications shall include information on nutrition, the wholesomeness of food, and diet, e.g. food in schools, and will focus on different groups in the society, including children, youth, the aged, etc. Creation of a National Food Safety Movement: A Food Safety Movement will be established to promote awareness and diffusion of the concept of food safety in all sectors. This movement will be geared to encourage industry and trade to increase food safety and to recognise the minimum requirements set by governments as a precondition for marketing products. Strategies to be employed will include: - Designation of a National Food Safety Week; and - Supporting the growth of the Consumer Movement. Institutional Infrastructure/Arrangements: There shall be national institutions for the enforcement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures legislated for in the form of technical regulations. In designing the institutional arrangements to support this strategy, the following responsibilities shall be addressed: - Organisation of the enforcement mechanisms; - Formal co-operation agreements and notification procedures; - Notification of food safety measures to WTO (TBT/SPS); 17
  18. 18. - National system for the notifications/enquiry point (TBT/SPS); - Promoting the application and use of international standards (Codex, IPPC, OIE); - Participation in international standards work; - Development of national measures based on international standards; - Identification of activities that are necessary to promote the use of international standards in implementing sanitary and phytosanitary measures; - The institutional infrastructure shall accommodate the facilities and services required by industry and trade. In determining this strategy, a policy decision will be made as to whether facilities used by the Government for enforcement purposes shall also be available for service delivery to the private sector, e.g. laboratory services. Further, it shall be determined whether such services will be charged for at full economic cost or at a subsidised rate as user fees. Certification of Products, Systems and Personnel The regulatory authorities shall use third party inspection and certification as part of the enforcement mechanisms, if necessary. In addition, while some operatives in the food sector currently require certification, i.e. food handlers, the certification mechanism shall be extended to other categories of personnel In the food industry. National Accreditation Body: The Government of iraq is actively pursuing the implementation of a National Accreditation Body, and its jurisdiction shall extend to the food safety area. Laboratories involved in food safety-related services shall be accredited, and only accredited inspection bodies shall be used. Inspection Services: The option shall exist for the regulatory authorities to use third/second/first party inspections as part of the enforcement mechanisms. Under this policy, inspection for regulatory purposes need not only be done by governmental inspectors. Testing and Calibration Services: These services shall be provided by both private and governmental accredited laboratories. Technology Services: These services shall be provided by both private and governmental entities. Private Sector Involvement and Initiatives: Producers shall be responsible for food safety. This will entail: - Recognition of food safety as an important issue; - Implementation of good agricultural/hygiene/manufacturing practices; - Verified compliance with legal requirements; and - Systems of traceability of feed, food-producing animals and food. The FSA will recognise the special needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, and will provide support in the form of: 18
  19. 19. - Provision of guidelines, training, and information; - Guidance on good hygiene in catering establishments through training, manuals, etc.; - Encouraging the involvement of farming and industry associations; and - Facilitation of consultancy services for producers. Other non-governmental involvement will be encouraged in the following stakeholder groups: - NGOs involved in food safety activities; - Consumers; - Consumer organisations; - Professionals; - Professional associations; and - Schools and universities etc. Education and Training (Industry/Service Sector): Programmes of education and training for food industry personnel shall be established. Similarly, in-house training within the sector shall be supported. The main areas to be included in the programmes are: - General awareness of food safety concepts; and - Training in food safety techniques at all levels. Education and Training (General): The concept of food safety shall be introduced into the curricula of the country’s educational system, with material appropriate to the following levels: - Early childhood; - Primary; - Secondary; and - Tertiary. Education and Training (Consumers): Programmes of public education shall be conducted to inform consumers of their rights in relation to food safety. In so doing, support will be given to consumer organisations to facilitate this process. Food Safety Agency: After the Cabinet’s teak decision to establish the Food Safety Agency (FSA) and in order to put this policy into the context of the FSA, the broad functions of this entity shall include the following areas: o Coordinate the administration of regulations applicable to the food sector, which may include carrying out supervision required by the food laws, and coordinating food control activities; o Keep the Government informed about developments in the food sector(feedback); 19
  20. 20. o Assist the Government with, and participate in international work in the food sector; o Carry out or instigate investigations and scientific studies on food and dietary habits, and develop methods for food control; o Mobilise resources for the improvement and sustainability of service delivery in the food safety sector; o Inform consumers and other interested parties in the food chain about current legislation and other important matters related to food; and participate in the execution of national development policy o Coordinate strategies for emergencies and emerging issuesA phased approach shall be adopted in the establishment of the Food Safety Agency (FSA). Aphased approach entails the setting up of a governing body/working group that will be assignedthe responsibility of setting up a FSA Secretariat, and initiating legal and other reviews. The FSASecretariat shall be established for a three year period. During that three year the FSA Secretariatwill initiate the development of updated food safety standards and regulatory processes, establishkey administrative/support services, appoint Risk Assessment Committee, prepare detailed FoodSafety Programme, finalize and approve umbrella legislation, contract with accredited agenciesfor service delivery, issue import and export permits, establish and conduct risk assessmentprocedures and prepare reports, provide policy advice and assess compliance with nationaleconomic policies.At the end of year three, an assessment will be done to ascertain whether or not to maintain theFSA Secretariat or integrate regulatory functions. If a decision is taken to integrate regulatoryfunctions then these activities will be done during the fourth year of the FSA Secretariat: o Updating and modernizing the facilities of the entities providing services o Rationalizing resources needed to provide food safety services o Identifying resources which need to be absorbed into the FSA o Arranging for smooth transition of resources, for example, personnel and equipment Special Programmes: Specific policies and strategies will be developed to address the issues and needs relating to such groups as: - The tourism industry; and - The “informal economy”, i.e. higglers, market vendors, sellers of “street food”, etc. In addition, the FSA shall be available at a consultative level for the development and monitoring of food-related programmes operated by the Government and other organisations. Such programmes will include: - The School Feeding Programme ; - The Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education; - Food Aid Programmes. Umbrella legislation 20
  21. 21. As a consequence of adopting this policy, the Government of Iraq will embark on a programmeof legislative reform as it applies to food safety matters. The aim of this exercise will be to arriveat a legislative framework that synchronises regulatory activities and modern, internationallycompliant laws that protect the interest of Iraqis at home and in external markets. The new legislative framework will also provide the mandate for the governing body of the FSAto have powers of direction and coordination in the food safety sector, so that they can effectivelymanage Iraq’s food safety programme. Complementing the legislative changes, a programme ofinstitutional development and strengthening will be embarked upon. The objective of thisprogramme will be to address the overlaps and gaps in service delivery and to ensure thatadequate coordinating mechanisms are in place with which to optimise the strengthened statutorypowers.11.0 MONITORING AND EVALUATIONMonitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of this policy will be the responsibility of thePortfolio Minister on the advice of the Chairman of the governing body of the FSA. It isanticipated that this policy will require a full review in six (6) years of its adoption to ensurecompliance with local and international developments. FOOD SAFETY POLICY 21
  22. 22. APPENDIX: CURRENT FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION INIraq 1. COSQC law No. 54/1979 2. General Health Law No.89/1981. 3. Food Law No.29 /1982(it is not really a real food law). Or we can say it is Food System This system is widely used by MOH to issue standards. 4. Consumer Protection Law No.1/2010 5. Plant Development and Protection Law No. 71/1978 6. Agriculture quarantine Law No.17/1966 7. Slaughtering Arrangement Law No.22/1972 8. General Trade Laboratory Law No. 9. National Quality Control System/ 1988 22