KOSOVO - Strengthening Food Safety and Administrative Capacity
The Kosovo Food and Veterinary Agency (FVA) recently participated in comprehensive training sessions in Pristina as part of project - Technical Assistance in the context of European Integration of Kosovo.
Established in 2000, the FVA plays a crucial role in developing and implementing measures to ensure animal and plant health, with a primary focus on guaranteeing the safety and quality of food to protect public health. As a control authority and executive agency, the FVA oversees the safety, hygiene, traceability, and labeling of food and feed in accordance with national and harmonised European Union regulations.
The training aims to enhance the competence and independence of the agency in carrying out its tasks and expanding its capabilities, particularly in the areas of food safety, veterinary, and phytosanitary issues. The training sessions primarily focused on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), a reporting system for food safety issues in the European Union. Prior to the training, a preparatory assessment was conducted to evaluate the participants' knowledge and competence, with the initial test results showing a high level of preparedness. However, ongoing capacity building is necessary to further enhance their skills beyond these trainings.
Strengthening the capacity of FVA staff will have a positive impact on Kosovo's food and animal welfare landscape, protecting the population from foodborne diseases and prioritising consumer welfare. Foodborne toxic bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli), as well as viruses like rotavirus and hepatitis A, are common causes of food poisoning in Kosovo. With a significant portion of their family budget allocated to food, Kosovars' increased income has led to a rise in food consumption outside the home, including fast-food restaurants, thereby increasing the risk of food poisoning. Ensuring proper food safety and quality is crucial to protect the health of the population and ensure they receive safe and healthy food.
On 7th June 2023, World Food Safety Day highlighted the importance of food safety as part of the right to an "adequate standard of living" outlined in international human rights declarations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasises that everyone has the right to food that is safe for human consumption and free from adverse substances.
These efforts contribute to Kosovo's fulfillment of the requirements outlined in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, particularly concerning the closing of Chapter 12 - Food Safety, Veterinary, and Phytosanitary Policy. The SAA serves as the primary framework for Kosovo's progress towards European integration, aiming to gradually align legislation and practices with European Union standards, ultimately leading to full adoption of the European Union acquis upon accession.
The KSV/019 project - Technical Assistance in the context of European Integration of Kosovo is co-funded by Kosovo and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and implemented by the Kosovo Ministry of European Integration and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
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