The Gambia component of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP-GM) has held a 2-day virtual awareness training on ISO 22000:2018 – Food Safety Management System (FSMS) Standard on Wednesday 16th March and Thursday 17th March 2022.
29 participants drawn from The Gambia Standards Bureau (TGSB) and other institutions were introduced to the Food Safety Management System (FSMS) Standard, one that is applicable to any Organization in the Food Chain.
An effective food safety management system (FSMS) reinforces an organization’s control on food safety hazards and ensures that its products are safe for consumption.
Funded by the European Union, the WACOMP-GM project is aiming to increase competitiveness in The Gambia through enhanced quality compliance along the onion value chain, thereby strengthening the country’s competitiveness and enhancing its integration into the regional and international trading systems.
The project is the Gambian component of the broader West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) which is funded through a 116-million-euro contribution under the 11th European Development Fund. This programmatic initiative between the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and the European Union with the support of the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union Commission (UEMOA) includes 1 regional component and 16 country components, including the Gambia with an amount of 4 million € and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Purpose (UP).
The National Technical Coordinator of WACOMP-GM, Mr. Joseph Ndenn, said the training is the beginning of a process to build national capacity in professional auditing of food safety management systems.
The awareness training, he added, is a pre-requisite for the more advanced Lead Implementer and Lead Auditor courses in ISO 22000:2018.
“It is also hoped that the training will contribute to enhancing the participants’ interest in the food safety management in general and the ISO 22000:2018 food safety management standard in particular,” he noted.
The co-facilitator of the training, UNIDO expert on Quality Infrastructure (QI) Prof. Dr. Adalberto Vieira, said the awareness training on ISO 22000:2018 shared with the participants the structure of the standard, the key steps for implementation as well as the importance of having a FSMS in the food sector organizations as a way of ensuring the manufacturing of safe food and access to new reference markets.
A participant, Saikou Darmmeh, Standards Officer for Food and Agriculture at TGSB, described the training as time, saying its significance cannot be over emphasized.
“It has equipped me with the necessary knowledge as standards officer for food and agricultural products to be able to help stakeholders, especially for agro-food processors to better process their foods in a way that is safer for everyone,” he said.
This training followed WACOMP-GM’s trainings on ‘ISO/IEC 17025:2017 – General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories’ and ‘Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system’ which were held in December and February respectively.