ARISE Plus has successfully delivered the first module of a training course that was specially designed to assist the Joint Sector Committee established to oversee the implementation of the ASEAN Food Hygiene MRA from April 7 to April 9, 2021. The training is to be delivered in two modules and has been designed to train food safety officials from ASEAN Member States’ competent authorities. The trained officials will support the implementation by undertaking evaluations of Member States’ food control systems for compliance with the MRA and its annexes. This training follows the development of an operations manual for implementation that have been recently developed by the JSC with the support of ARISE Plus.
The training course was developed by ARISE Plus experts in close consultation with the JSC with the objective to familiarize the ASEAN experts with the requirements of the MRA and to promote a common understanding of the application of the operating procedures. The second module of the training is planned for September 2021 and is expected that the completion of this training will enable the JSC to commence reviewing applications from Member States for recognition of food control systems under the MRA and begin implementation. The second module will focus on the practical aspects of conducting evaluations.
The Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group (PFPWG) developed ASEAN SECTORAL Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Inspection and Certification Systems on Food Hygiene for Prepared Foodstuff Products as part of its mandate to facilitate trade and to reduce trade barriers for ASEAN trade. The MRA came was signed by ASEAN Economic Ministers on 27 April 2018. Following this the PPWG immediately launched preparations to implement the MRA. The MRA is the first such instrument that the PFPWG has developed and is expected to lead to enhancement and harmonization of food safety across the region as it requires Member States to adopt food control measures based on the ASEAN Common Food Control Requirements which are closely aligned with Codex requirements.