Food Safety initiative aimed to improve capacity and increase the number of food safety inspectors in the Pacific region

Increasing food safety initiatives in Fiji has been prioritised under a new online course offered by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).

The Paravet Meat Inspection Hygiene and Food Safety training course, held from 20 to 28 May offered participants in-depth virtual training on meat inspection hygiene and food safety.

The training was developed as part of the Safe Agriculture Trade Facilitation through Economic Integration in the Pacific (SAFE Pacific) project funded by the European Union, with the aim to improve capacity and increase the number of food safety inspectors in the Pacific region.

Karen Mapusua, Director of SPC’s Land Resources Division said improving capacity for food safety measures in the Pacific was key to ensuring more trade opportunities. “With our current context of COVID-19, it’s crucial to find innovative ways to provide training that is accessible to participants. This training is important for helping to prevent food-borne diseases or related outbreaks within the region. It will also improve food and safety hygiene – a key component for accessing trade and export markets.”

The week-long training brought together over 25 participants from the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture; Livestock Officers and Meat Inspectors in the Central Division and was facilitated by the Fiji MoA veterinarians.

The course was designed for participants that work in abattoirs who have not received any formal training in meat hygiene and food safety. The new course was also recommended for extension officers that provide services to farmers in Fiji.

A range of topics was covered, including meat hygiene legislation, principles of abattoir design, principles of animal welfare practices in abattoirs, principles of antemortem and post-mortem inspections, principles of meat and meat by-product processing, and principles of abattoir hygiene and waste disposal.

As part of the online training, SPC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, will organise a summer school that will take place after COVID-19 restrictions in Fiji have been lifted. The course exams will be marked by the veterinarian trainers and submitted to SPC.

SPC will then host a graduation ceremony to provide participants with training certificates.

This story was published by Jamie Kemsey at SPC on 3 June 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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