CAIRO, Egypt, January 24, 2018–The Government of Egypt recently established an independent National Food Safety Authority (NFSA) as an autonomous regulatory body directly under the Prime Minster and the Cabinet. The activities of this regulatory body will be critical in ensuring the food safety regulations are being implemented and enforced. Such an authority will also play a key role in facilitating trade of food products of both animal and plant origin in both domestic and international markets. As such one of the critical requirements for NFSA is to have qualified, trained staff to carry out its task with due diligence and professionalism. One area where NFSA is left wanting is the inspection service and the dearth of qualified food safety inspectors.
Recognizing the importance of having qualified inspectors to effectively carry out its tasks as a National Food Safety Authority in Egypt, NFSA arranged for capacity building initiative for the 35 food inspectors that are currently engaged by NFSA to carry out the very important assignment of inspection. The UNIDO-SAFE (food safety project) funded by Sida has been requested by NFSA, under the Chairmanship of Dr Hussein Mansour, to support certain agreed activities of NFSA which include the enhancement of the competencies of the food inspection system in Egypt. This includes training of the pool of inspectors, who would then become the core team of inspectors within NFSA to carry out the complicated and often arduous task of inspecting food business operators to ensure compliance to established food safety protocols.
The training was carried out by an International Expert, Christine Ellen Testa, a food safety expert form the US, currently working as food safety expert for food safety expert for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as well as the National Environmental Health in Washington DC.
The 3 day training and one-day lecture which proceeded the training, conducted by Ms. Testa, was organized by NFSA, supported by the SAFE project and concluded on 22 January 2018 with an official examination to test and certify the competency of the inspectors working at NFSA. The training included sessions on Food Safety Audit, The Code of Conduct and ServSafe Food Safety training course. Having qualified through this course, the aim is that these 35 food safety inspectors will be the nucleus of the inspection system to be develop under NFSA and will act as master trainers for the new inspectors to be recruited in the future.
On the last day of the training, certificates of participation were distributed amongst the trainees by the Chairman of NFSA, Dr Hussain Mansour and the Chief Technical Advisor of the SAFE project, Dr Ali Qazilbash, in the presence of the international expert, Ms. Christine Ellen.