Improving food inspection through a virtual school
The overall objective was to improve the safety of fresh and processed food in the region, and in so doing to facilitate trade and improve public health, using up-to-date and harmonized inspection procedures carried out by a pool of properly trained food inspectors in all countries of the region.
- Development of a virtual course on food inspection available on the IICA virtual platform.
- Development of a virtual course on food safety auditing.
- Establishment of an Academic Council with representatives of the eight countries participating in the project.
- Establishment of a Technical Advisory Group made up of representatives of the government sectors responsible for food inspection (Ministries of Agriculture and Health).
- Seven memorandums of understandings were signed with the universities partnering the project, to provide support for the organization and implementation of virtual courses on food inspection and food safety auditing. Agreements were signed with Costa Rica: Universidad de Costa Rica, CITA; El Salvador: Universidad José Matías Delgado; Guatemala: Universidad Rafael Landívar; Nicaragua: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, León; Honduras: Universidad Nacional de Agricultura; Panamá: Universidad de Panamá; and Dominican Republic: Universidad ISA.
- Under these agreements and with the aim of facilitating implementation of the project, videoconferencing equipment was purchased for Universidad Rafael Landívar, UNAN León, Universidad ISA, Universidad de Costa Rica and Universidad José Matías Delgado. Two year Webex licences were obtained for the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura and the Universidad de Panamá.
- 936 inspectors from the eight countries began their training.
- 544 inspectors completed the courses.
- 479 inspectors passed the training tests:
- Honduras: 48
- Dominican Republic: 47
- El Salvador: 104
- Panama: 23
- Guatemala: 43
- Costa Rica: 144
- Belize: 6
- Nicaragua: 64
Agreement was reached at the meeting on a new structure comprising the Official Technical Commission, made up of representatives of the competent food safety authorities in each country and the Academic Council made up of partner universities in each of the countries participating in the project (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costs Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic). In addition, the parties agreed on the importance of promoting initiatives at both local and regional level.
- 1 virtual food inspectors course which will be migrated to the platforms of the partner universities for delivery at national and regional level.
- 1 virtual food safety auditing course which will be migrated to the virtual platforms of the partner universities for delivery at national and regional level.
Formation of a network of academic food inspection experts at regional level