Rice production in Sakon Nakhon province, Thailand. The rice is pre-soaked, steamed, dried, and then polished before packaging and consumption.
Photo: © FAO/Alisa Suwanrumpha

New food safety toolbox

A new toolbox provides information on food safety for food producers. The aim is to support small food business operators and producers in low- and middle-income countries.

In June 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a comprehensive, practical and accessible toolbox designed to support all those operating in the food sector in adhering to international food hygiene standards. 

The toolbox is based on the Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “food code”), a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice managed by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.

Currently, there is an extensive set of guidelines and norms governing Good Hygiene Practices (GHP), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). The toolbox translates this into easily digestible information via an FAO website. Special care has been taken to consider the challenges faced by small food business operators and producers in low- and middle-income countries. For instance, the website has been designed to work well on handheld mobile devices, which in some developing countries are far more widespread than computers.

The overarching aim is to give all food business operators, whether on the farm or further along the value chain – and regardless of size and location – an instrument that enables them to better engage with local food safety authorities to produce, process and distribute safe food. The toolbox also caters for those with an institutional role, such as government officials, academics and capacity-building organisations.

The toolbox is initially available in three languages (English, French and Spanish). It includes guides to personal hygiene, such as how to educate visitors entering a food production site, the correct procedure and frequency for hand washing and suggestions for appropriate clothing.

Going forward, the plan is to collect feedback and possibly expand the toolbox to provide more in-depth guidance for other sectors of the agrifood system, such as fisheries. Academic institutions have already expressed an interest in using it to create dedicated courses on food safety.


Read more on the FAO website 
Visit the Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) and HACCP Toolbox for Food Safety

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