In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of ‘Meeting Food Safety Standards: Implications for ACP agricultural exports‘, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing’

– Trade and Food Standards 

The publication Trade and Food Standards offers a concise explanation of how international food standards are set and applied. It advocates for deeper involvement by developing countries in both the harmonized food standard setting processes in Codex Alimentarius and the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committees. More effective engagement has also the potential to make the international $1.7 trillion market in agriculture products more inclusive, allowing small-scale food producers and processors to participate in large-scale value chains. To achieve this, governments must devote attention and muster national consensus on their food policy priorities.

– Impact of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers on International Trade
Jong Woo Kang and Dorothea Ramizo, July 2017

In principle, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures aim to protect the health of humans, plants and animals, while technical barriers to trade (TBT) ensure product quality and safety. However, governments may overshoot the requirements of health and consumer safety and use SPS and TBT to shield domestic producers from fair competition. Potential abuses of both measures as protectionist tools not only constrain international trade but also consumers’ welfare by restricting the choices of goods available to them. Our analysis shows that in general the measures seem to be positive for trade after controlling for other factors. However, the impacts are mainly driven by exports from advanced economies. Less developed countries do not gain as much when implementing the measures or are disadvantaged in exporting goods, particularly when importers are advanced economies.

– Food Safety Regulations and Export Responses of Developing Countries: Lessons from South Africa and Namibia’s Fresh and Frozen Fish Exports to European Union
Shingirirai Mashura and Albert Makochekanwa, 2016

Food safety regulations are attaining more prominence as trade regulation tools in the international arena. The effects of these standards on trade performance are three-fold: trade impeding effects, catalyst effects, and neutral effects. While various researches confirm the trade impeding effect of regulations, the more pessimistic view confirms the catalyst effect that is due to scale effect. This study outlines the relationship between food safety regulations and export performance by investigating the changes in exports from South Africa and Namibia to the European Union (EU) trade partners once the EU regulations were put into effect, drawing policy implications in terms of food safety-export performance nexus. The empirical results confirm the trade impeding at both aggregate and country level. Estimating the pane gravity model with fixed model separately for each seafood product, the results show that food safety regulations have differential effects across products. For Namibia, both zero tolerance policy and harmonisation policy negatively impacted the fresh and frozen fish exports. The results for South Africa were mixed. Fresh fish exports increase as the regulations were put into effect while frozen fish decrease as the regulations were put into effect.

Global Food Safety Testing Market Growth of 7.5-8% CAGR by 2021 – Analysis, Technologies & Forecasts Report 2016-2021 – Vendors: SGS, Intertek Group, ALS – Research and Markets, 24/11/2016

The growing foodborne illnesses have put pressure on the food safety testing market, globally, to ensure that the products are safe to consume. The compliances required by various food regulatory bodies has led to a competitive scenario within the international laboratories. The global food safety testing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.5-8 % during the forecast period of 2016-2021. Food supply, worldwide, is under constant threat, and there is a growing demand for practical test products that can ensure food safety. Microbial pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins, food allergens and adulterants, residues of drugs and agricultural chemicals can harm consumers, if unchecked. Major causes that result in food contamination include inadequacy in treating and processing the food to destroy contaminants and other impurities, improper handling of food and contaminated input food materials. By geography, the market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Africa. North America constitutes the largest food safety testing market, cornering an estimated share of about 38%, in 2015. Regarding growth, the Asia-Pacific market for food safety testing is likely to record the fastest compounded annual rate of nearly 10%, primarily driven by the increase in testing procedures from the potential regions of China and India.

– The Last Frontier: Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards and Technical Regulations as Non-Tariff Barriers in Intra-African Trade
African Journal of International and Comparative Law, February 2015

– Despite contamination concerns, Africa must embrace ‘wet markets’ as key to food security
ILRI, 27-01-2015

A new compilation of 25 studies in Africa finds that informal markets provide essential sources of food and income for millions of poor, with milk and meat that is often safer than supermarkets. Misguided efforts to control the alarming burden of food-related illnesses in low-income countries risk intensifying malnutrition and poverty — while doing little to improve food safety. Blunt crack-downs on informal milk and meat sellers that are a critical source of food and income for millions of people are not the solution. That’s a key finding of a new book released today by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners — Food Safety and Informal Markets: Animal Products in Sub-Saharan Africa—that probes the complicated world of traditional or ‘informal’ markets in livestock products. These are often called ‘wet’ markets because they use so much water in cleaning due to the perishable and often contaminated nature of the foods they sell. These venues sell most of the livestock and fish products consumed in Africa. And they are growing rapidly as rising populations and incomes drive greater demand for meat and milk.

– A review on food safety and food hygiene studies in Ghana, 24-06-2014

Food safety and hygiene in Ghana was studied using desk top literature review. Food research was highly concentrated in the capital city of the country and most research focus were on commercial food operations specifically street foods and microbiological safety with limited information from institutional catering and other forms of food hazards. The media currently serves as the main source for reporting of food borne diseases. Food establishments and other sources contributing to food borne diseases included restaurants, food joints, food vendors, schools and individual homes. Limited use of prerequisites measures and food safety management systems was identified. Recommendations on regulating the General Hygiene Principles, implementation of HACCP to strengthen the food sector, regular food safety and hygiene workshops and training for food handlers that commensurate with their roles were made. Government support for SMEs and food handler’s health screening were made

– The European Union Technical Barriers to Trade and Africa’s Exports: Evidence from Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
European University Institute, 2014

The change in taste and preferences in importing countries as well as the need to keep the environment safe, especially in developed markets as contributed to the rising trend in the demand for quality products through sanitary and phytosanitary measures. However, the stringency and the preponderance of these measures have effects on trade, particularly for developing and least developed countries from Africa. These effects usually influenced the attainment of the development aspirations of these Africa countries, especially employment, poverty reduction and sustainable growth. To this end, this study investigated the export effects of the EU standards for Africa using the two-step Helpman et al. (2008) extensive and intensive trade margins model for two high value food products and two traditional products. The EU standard requirements for each product are called the ‘hurdle to pass’ before the product could gain access to this market. In all, 52 African countries were considered in the empirical analysis from 1995 to 2012. This study finds that product standards for fish and cocoa are trade enhancing at the extensive margins, but not the case at the intensive margins. However, standards are trade inhibiting at both the extensive and intensive margins of exports for vegetable, while standards are trade restrictive at the extensive margins and trade enhancing at intensive margins for coffee. Thus, these findings suggest that the impacts of standards on exports are product – specific. Hence, Africa must ensure adequate standards compliance through improvement in science and technology not only for the EU market, but in all its export markets.

– SPS standards hampering int’l agri trade for Antigua & Barbuda, 14-1-2014

Antigua & Barbuda continues to experience legislative, financial, infrastructural, and technical impediments as its ministry of agriculture moves toward the implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and regulations for the export of agricultural commodities. Under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement, SPS Standards deal with regulatory measures applied to protect human, animal and plant health. These agreements aim to harmonise SPS measures, such as control and inspection procedures, risk assessment methods and the safeguarding of facilities for food and agricultural products (raw, semi-processed and processed) in international trade or supply chain. The current era of export agriculture in that twin-island state evolved in the 1980s as a reaction to the failed import substitution initiatives of previous decades. Those earlier years had been characterised by high protectionism; widespread production inefficiency; substantial state intervention in the agriculture sector; over-valued exchange rates and increased scarcity and rationing of foreign exchange.

– Challenges of Agro-Food Standards Conformity: Lessons from East Africa and Policy Implications   
European Journal of Development Research, July 2o13

Standards are used to govern an increasing share of global food trade, and have been interpreted by academics both as market access barriers and opportunities for low-income country producers, exporters and workers. Donors have mostly chosen to treat them as opportunities and today finance a variety of programmes and projects aimed at supporting standards development and conformity. This article contributes to the critical literature discussing the challenges and potentials of standards conformity and supplies policy recommendations for future interventions. It reports the results of a research programme on standards conformity in East Africa. These demonstrate that most interventions underestimate the nature of the challenges faced and that significant impacts are achieved only under rather restricted conditions. The solutions lay not only in more selective support to standard development and better-informed interventions, but also to focus more squarely on supply capacity and welfare outcomes in project planning.

– Public Health and Food Safety for those in the WHO African Region  
AJOL, June 2012

Contaminated food continues to cause numerous devastating outbreaks in the African Region. In Africa, a large proportion of ready-to-eat foods are sold by the informal sector, especially as street foods. The hygienic aspects of vending operations and the safety of these foods are problematic for food safety regulators. The global food crisis has worsened an already precarious food situation because when food is in short supply people are more concerned about satisfying hunger than the safety of the food. The aetiological agents include various pathogenic bacteria, parasites and viruses. Chemical contaminants are becoming increasingly important. Human factors including: unhygienic practices and deliberate contamination, environmental factors, such as unsafe water, unsafe waste disposal and exposure of food to insects and dust,undercooked food, and prolonged storage of cooked food without refrigeration are the main predisposing factors. WHO’s position is that food safety must be recognised as a public health function and access to safe food as a basic human right. The work of WHO in food safety is in line with its core functions and various global and regional commitments, especially the document entitled “Food Safety and Health: A Strategy for the WHO African Region (AFR/RC57/4) adopted in 2007.

– Public-Private Partnerships to enhance SPS capacity: What can we learn from this collaborative approach?, April 2012

This publication analyses the emergence, operation and performance of selected SPS-related partnerships between government agencies responsible for food safety, animal and plant health and/or trade and the private sector. It has been prepared by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to raise awareness about the potential value and role of PPPs in enhancing SPS capacity and to provide practical guidance to facilitate and promote PPPs for SPS capacity development. The aim is to identify and disseminate pertinent experiences and lessons that could be replicated to improve the development and performance of partnerships to enhance SPS capacity in the future. It is expected that this work will be of particular use to authorities responsible for food safety, animal and plant health in developing countries, as well as private sector
experts involved in the agriculture sector, who are interested to develop new PPPs or enhance the operation and performance of existing ones

This study presents and analyses the findings of a survey carried out to examine the existence and functioning of national SPS coordination mechanisms in Africa. Its objective is to extract lessons learned and provide suggestions and guidance to support the further establishment and operation of these mechanisms in the future.

– Measuring the Impact of SPS Standards on Market Access
 International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council, July 2011

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are promulgated by governments in order to protect human, animal, and plant health in importing countries, but can also be formulated or implemented in such a way that makes it unnecessarily difficult for foreign producers to compete. This paper reviews ongoing efforts to gather information about non tariff measures (NTMs) and their economic impacts, and calls for more systematic and compatible efforts to track NTMs and to provide quantitative assessments of their impact on trade, in order to “help illuminate a dark corner of international commerce.”

– What’s holding Pacific Island taro exports back?,  24-05-2011 

A factory worker cleans and grades Tausala ni Samoa taro bound for export at a processing plant in Suva, Fiji.  SPC study identifies impediments to growth, proposes way forward. Taro is one of the few fresh commodities for which Pacific Island countries have been able to achieve significant levels of exports, with 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes exported annually (valued at approximately USD 6 million). Fiji currently accounts for 95% of these exports, with Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu making up the rest. However, there has been little or no growth in export volume in recent years. Why? A new study released by the European Union funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) Project finds that ‘quarantine import protocols and their application are a major factor determining the ability of [Pacific Island countries] to maintain and expand taro exports’. The Pacific Island Taro Market Access Scoping Study was initiated under the pilot project, which works to increase the volume, value and diversity of Pacific Island agricultural and forestry exports, in response to the high rejection rate of taro exported to Australia during the first half of 2010. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community is implementing the project.

Private Food Safety Standards: Their Role in Food Safety Regulation and their Impact
FAO, 2010

Private food standards are playing an increasingly important role in determining market access in international trade. The scope and objectives of these standards vary widely according to the nature of the entities developing and adopting them: they commonly address food safety, food quality or social and environmental issues along the production to marketing continuum. While official food safety standards must respect rules laid down within the SPS agreement, private food safety standards are not presently bound to this requirement. Given the growing importance of these standards, many developing countries are concerned that they undermine the authority of the texts adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). This paper is a response to requests made by member countries during the 32nd Session of the CAC in 2009 that FAO/WHO carry out a more critical analysis of the role, cost and benefits of private standards especially with respect to the impact on developing countries.

– The Importance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to Fisheries Negotiations in Economic Partnership Agreements
ICTSD, September 2010

This study seeks to examine those challenges and to contemplate possible policy responses. It argues that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union and ACP countries represent an opportunity to achieve solutions to several problem areas associated with EU SPS requirements. The importance of addressing SPS concerns in the fisheries sector cannot be overemphasized given that the EU accounts for 75 percent of ACP fisheries exports.

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