Phytosanitary and sanitary inspections in international trade are important to protect life and health of people, animals, plants and the environment of importing countries. Such inspections however can also pose trade barriers and increase the costs of doing business. It is therefore important that inspections are planned and conducted adequately, based on the results of risk assessment and proportionate to the risk that commodities and hazards pose to the importing country.
Following earlier similar initiatives in other Western Balkan countries, SAFOSO supported the food and veterinary authorities of Kosovo and Albania in the integration of risk assessment techniques in the planning of sampling programs for imported food commodities. The technical assistance was provided through a series of three training events. First, selected members of the agencies were trained in risk assessment, specifically applied to food safety of imported food of animal and non-animal origin. Following the completion of the risk assessment, the agencies designed new risk-based sampling plans for imported food. Subsequently, the food safety agencies were supported in the preparation or revision of implementing guidelines for the risk-based sampling plans, aiming to harmonize the implementation of these plans across all border inspection posts and custom terminals. Finally, a training was organized for the border inspectors to introduce them to the new sampling plans and implementing guidelines.
Awareness of the importance of using risk-based techniques in sanitary border inspections was increased. Both countries developed risk-based sampling plans for inspection of food of animal and non-animal origin at border crossings and border inspectors increased their knowledge and understanding of the practical implementation of risk-based inspection techniques.
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