Today the issue of food safety is everybody’s concern. When buying food, people hope that it’s wholesome and safe. People should not get sick in this century because of their negligence or a lack of conscientiousness.
During the last decades, specialists developed a system that permits managing the safety of processed food. This system is called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). In the 1990s it gained the power of law in some European countries and the USA. Since 2000 other developed and developing countries required the use of the HACCP system in the food industry. In 2000 the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) invited internationally recognized experts to Armenia at the request of some leading food processors. The invited experts conducted trainings, visited plants, and provided consultations. In 2006, the USDA launched a new technical assistance project to support Armenia’s food safety system through a partnership between CARD Foundation and Louisiana State University. In this project the specialists from CARD were trained in the US and the organization was certified as a HACCP training provider. Afterwards, US and Ukrainian specialists provided consultation on implementation of the HACCP system in some plants.
On December 2nd, CARD Foundation signed a contract with the Unifish Company. “Unifish” is a superior fish farming and fish processing company and has supplied local and foreign consumers with fresh cooled and quick frozen trout and sturgeon since 2007. The company realizes the advantages of the HACCP system for supplying people with fresh fish and for giving it a chance to enter new European markets.
It should be mentioned that implementation of the HACCP system implementation has some difficulties, including a lack of specialists, gaps in the legal situation, as well as the requirement that significant investments are required to improve the sanitary condition at plants. The latter is a necessity to implement the HACCP system. Today CARD Foundation is proud that some plants have successfully introduced the system and, beginnining in 2012, are going to apply for ISO22000 certification. Those companies are the Linda meat processing plant and the Dustr Melania cheese plant.
What does the Government say? The new food safety law of 2006 stipulates the HACCP system to be compulsory for food safety management, defining each year of the period between 2011 and 2015 as a deadline for a particular branch of the food industry. One of the latest Government initiatives is in conforming the food safety laws to international, and in particular to European, requirements. Currently, laws, regulations and normative acts are being reviewed and amended and new legislative documents are being developed. Also, necessary manuals and guidelines on the HACCP system are in preparation.
The contract signed is only the first step, but there are many challenging and fruitful years ahead.