Public-Private Partnerships for Safer Food

Gabor Molnar and Marlynne Hopper
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This article in Food Safety Magazine highlights an exciting initiative between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) to improve food safety. 

UNIDO is one of several organizations in the STDF, a partnership that convenes diverse stakeholders with a shared interest in facilitating safe trade. With longstanding experience in rolling out impactful partnerships that benefit developing countries, UNIDO’s latest collaboration with the STDF is piloting an innovative partnership approach to improve food safety outcomes using voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programs in West Africa and Central America, based on a forthcoming Codex guidance. 

This article also touches on important topics related to using PPPs to improve food safety, and how this partnership can positively contribute in this space, including: 

  • Key types of PPPs in food safety
  • Drivers, benefits, and challenges of public-private collaboration on regulatory practices
  • What Is needed for successful PPPs?
  • Food safety as a multidisciplinary domain
  • Building awareness and knowledge on best practices
  • Diversity of vTPA Programs and ways they are taken into account
  • How advances in data help transform food safety decision-making?

Some of the key messages from the publication are :

  • Interest in public-private sector collaboration is growing, as governments search for alternative and innovative solutions to enhance their food control system, and small and medium-size enterprises seek new markets in the high-value domestic retail sector, locally, regionally, and globally.
  • Voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programmes are formal and documented food safety and quality management systems developed and implemented by the private sector.
  • Two ongoing STDF-funded regional projects in Central America and West Africa are piloting the vTPA approach to test how competent authorities can cooperate more with the private sector to improve food safety outcomes, and better understand how this approach will work in practice to improve their national food control systems and help small-scale food business operators improve their food safety management.
    This resource is based on experience or opinion