Safer Food, Safer World: USDA Combines Science, Trade, and Online Learning

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Posted by Deborah B. Hamilton, International Program Specialist, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Health and Safety

Jun 07, 2021

As we recognize World Food Safety Day, we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Food Safety Network (FSN), a partnership between USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FSN provides developing countries with the tools and training to strengthen animal and plant health, food safety, and agricultural trade. But, that’s not all. The work of FSN also supports the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy’s goals to improve food security, and reduce poverty and malnutrition around the world.

So how does FSN help create safer food and ultimately a safer world? At the core of FSN are three pillars: technical assistance; knowledge management; and online learning tools. Its flagship online learning platform is a set of 16 Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) courses that offer training to foreign policy makers, farmers, ranchers, industry leaders, and more.

The courses are free and teach how to apply science-based risk analysis concepts to analyze plant health, animal health, and food safety challenges, as well as meet the SPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization’s obligations in order to reduce trade barriers.

FAS partnered with Texas A&M University, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, FDA, and USAID to create the courses that combine interactive learning objectives, pre- and post-exams, case studies, and graphics. The courses can be complemented by live online and in-person training and have allowed us to continue to provide SPS assistance, even as COVID-19 limited travel and in-person activities. Available in English, Spanish, and French, more than 100 countries and 1,500 users have already benefitted from the SPS Distance Learning Modules.

To learn more about the many ways we are improving food safety by combining science, education, and trade, and what you can do to help, visit the Food Safety Network.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety

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