SINGAPORE - The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA's) International Advisory Committee of Experts (IACE) has concluded its sixth review of AVA's food safety and biosecurity programmes. The review took place from Aug 4 to 7, 2014 and considered a range of issues including strengthening AVA's food safety and biosecurity programmes.
The IACE commended AVA's initiative in establishing the One Health platform with the medical and public health agencies (MOH and NEA) to promote cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaborations and communications.
AVA's progress in refining its contingency planning for disease incursions, such as rabies, and using social media platforms (e.g. Facebook) to engage the public on a variety of food safety and animal health and welfare issues was complimented by the IACE.
The committee also congratulated AVA in acquiring the status of an OIE Collaborating Centre for Food Safety.
Drawing on their experience, the IACE provided valuable insights and suggestions on areas including rabies contingency plan and food recall protocols.
The committee also recommended that as an OIE Collaborating Centre for Food Safety, AVA can leverage on its comparative advantage and assist other countries in advancing food safety capabilities.
Dr Gardner Murray, Chairman of the IACE, said "The IACE noted significant progress had been made on the various recommendations of its review in 2011. In the opinion of the IACE, the AVA remains a trusted and well-respected organisation both in Singapore and internationally with food safety and biosecurity standards at a world class standard. The IACE recognises that there are major international challenges which pose risks to food safety, and human and animal health. These risks, including the risks of food fraud, are increasing and the AVA will have to accommodate to these new challenges. Based on past experiences, it is more than capable of doing so."
Acknowledging the recommendations of the IACE, Ms Tan Poh Hong, Chief Executive Officer of AVA, said, "The IACE review is an opportunity not only to assess the robustness of our systems, but also to give us fresh insights and perspectives as we continue to pursue smarter systems and more effective programmes. The IACE is a valued advisory partner and we are glad to receive their positive report. We thank the IACE for their advice and recommendations, which will help us to continue to build stronger networks, tailor our plans and resources to be scalable and sustainable for the long term, and keep AVA at the forefront, both locally and internationally."