Technical Assistance Program to Support the Armenian Food Safety System
Since 2006, CARD foundation implements USDA-sponsored Technical Assistance Program to Support the Armenian Food Safety System Project. The Project is a collaborative technical assistance effort between the Louisiana State University, its US partner, Southern University, its Ukrainian partner, the International Institute for Food Safety and Quality (IIFSQ), and CARD foundation. The overall goal of the project is to establish an effective Armenian food safety program bolstering the economy through increased demand and sale of food products within Armenia, regionally and for export, and to provide a safe and reliable food supply for the populace.
Three objectives have been set forth to reach this goal:
Objective 1: Align/harmonize Food Safety laws in Armenia to international requirements (Codex Alimentarius, US, EU, etc.)
Objective 2: Enhance Science-Based Food Safety Awareness Programs
Objective 3: Provide Technical Assistance and Training for Armenian government and industry
Staff: CARD Food Safety team comprising of 5 food safety specialists and a project manager, acquired best practices within the industry, which with experience they apply to the Armenian agricultural sector. A key to the success derives from its history of combining highly qualified western consultants with local professionals. More than 25 specialists from LSU and its collaborating partners over 7 years teamed with Armenian leading specialists to contribute technical and advisory assistance to both CARD and CARD clients’ capacity development.
As a result of the collaboration CARD food safety team became certified as training provider for the following training programs:
- ServSafe Instructor and Registered Proctor from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, US
- Seafood HACCP Supervisory Instructor from the National Seafood HACCP Alliance for Training and Education
- Introductory HACCP Lead Instructor from International HACCP Alliance
- Better Process Control School for canned food processors from FDA
In addition, CARD is a member of the World Food Logistic Organization/Global Cold Chain Alliance.
Stakeholders: Currently, CARD Foundation provides food safety programs for state agencies and the private sectors through developing the infrastructure for sustainable training capacity. Key stakeholder groups include farmers, processors (meat, dairy, canned food, processed fruits and vegetables, and seafood), food service establishments (hotels, restaurants, retail stores, etc.), government officials responsible for food safety, as well as consumers.
Training Programs: Through the program Armenian food industry stakeholders learn the basic and essential components of food safety as well as internationally recognized food safety regulations and requirements. Participating stakeholders use this knowledge to develop HACCP programs in food processing plants, facilitate reform of government food regulatory statutes, support enforcement of new regulations, and promote public awareness of food safety issues for local consumers. To date more than 5000 stakeholders were trained on food safety requirements, workshops on establishment of Armenia Food Safety Trainers Coalition were held.
Training topics include but are not limited to:
- Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and basic sanitation
- Codex Alimentarius requirements implementation
- “Hazards analysis and critical control points” (HACCP) system development and implementation in the food industry
- Seafood HACCP system development and implementation
- Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance
- “ServSafe” training course for food service establishments
- Better Process Control School for Canned Foods
- Internal audit
- New Microbiological Testing Methods
- Cold Store Management
- Farm-level Food Safety Trainings
- Food safety awareness training for school kids and other consumer awareness activities
Consulting Services include the following directions:
- Assistance to the RA government in revision of existing and development of new food safety regulations and secondary laws to harmonize to international (US and EU) laws and regulations
- Assistance to the RA government and food industry in establishing relations with FDA, USDA, EU and regional food regulatory agencies to facilitate the export.
- Consultation for the food industry to develop and implement food safety management systems, such as HACCP, ISO22000, FSSC22000, SQF, BRC, and GFSI
- Consultation for the food industry to improve food safety and sanitary conditions
- HACCP system third-party audit
- Canning process establishment and FDA filing
- Audit of canned food producers according to the FDA requirements
- Consultation in the sphere of cold store management
- Elaboration of Sanitary Improvement Programs for farms, dairy producers, milk collection centers and slaughterhouses
CARD Food Safety program aims to complement and build upon other food safety efforts in Armenia so that the effects are sustainable and comprehensive.