USAID/Sweden FARMA II - Description of Project
USAID and the Government of Sweden have awarded Cardno Emerging Markets USA a five-year US$16.2 million contract for implementation of the Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity II (FARMA II) project in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH). The purpose of the FARMA II Project is to create agricultural and agribusiness economic opportunities for BiH farmers and entrepreneurs. FARMA II will achieve this by assisting agricultural producer organizations to adopt European Union (EU) and international agricultural and food standards and new production techniques, produce new high value products and expand their access to foreign and domestic markets. The objective of FARMA II’s Component 2 is to strengthen the BiH public sector such that it fully implements regulations, norms, practices, and rules in the areas of agriculture & food, veterinary & plant health and safety, accreditation, standardization and quality certifications related to food and agricultural products which meet EU and international best practice requirements.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 lays down the microbiological criteria for certain micro-organisms and the implementing rules to be complied with by food business operators in respect of the general and specific hygiene requirements. In particular, this Regulation defines hygiene criteria that includes indicative contamination values, above which corrective actions are required, in order to maintain the hygiene of food production processes in compliance with all relevant food laws.
The EFSA scientific opinion on control options for Campylobacter throughout the poultry meat production chain, published in 2011, suggests a number of control options both at farm and slaughterhouse level and estimates their impacts on the reduction of the number of human cases, including the introduction of a process hygiene criterion for Campylobacter. In particular the EFSA suggests introducing a process hygiene criterion for Campylobacter on broiler carcasses. The main conclusion of this cost-benefit analysis is that setting a process hygiene criterion to Campylobacter in broiler carcasses would provide one of the best balances between reducing human campylobacteriosis attributed to the consumption of poultry meat and economic consequences from the application of the criterion. In recognition of these risks, the EC recently adopted a new regulation No 1495/2017, which amended Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005, setting a process hygiene criterion for Campylobacter in broiler carcasses aiming to reduce human campylobacteriosis attributed to the consumption of poultry meat.
One of the priorities of FARMA II is to work with BiH institutions (state, entity, cantonal/local) and the BiH private sectors producer organizations to improve food standards in line with EU requirements for the export of dairy, poultry meat and eggs (and products made from poultry meat and milk) to the EU.
In September/October 2017 the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (HFSA) audited the official control system for poultry meat and poultry meat products in BiH. Results of this audit and recommendations were generally positive but did also highlight certain concerns to be addressed by the poultry industry to complete the process and secure approval for export in 2018.
Exporting food to the EU markets requires from states institutions enforce food laws and monitor and verify that the relevant requirements of relevant food laws are fulfilled by feed and food business operators (FBOs) at all stages of production, processing and distribution.
In that regard, FARMA II, together with the BiH Food Safety Agency has identified that further technical support will be needed to support the FSA, entity ministries, inspectorates, laboratories and relevant FBOs, which are obliged to apply the new legislation relating to microbiological criteria. Failure to respond to these new legal requirements may threaten future export and trade in poultry meat and meat products with the EU.
In the past period FARMA II has supported other related activities in support of the implementation of the Poultry Export Readiness Action Plan including (i) a Mock inspection to assess and evaluate the current status of the Action Plan; (ii) Assessment and evaluation of current status of National Program for Salmonella Control; and (iii) Categorization of Food Establishments and Development of Program for Upgrading their Compliance with EU requirements for Poultry Sector with STTE. Insights gained by these experts into the current situation has led to a series of recommendations being made for corrective actions and improvements. The recommendations have led to the definition of new rules and additional education for inspectors and FBOs on EU requirements in completing an initial official control in accordance with the adopted new rules/documentation.
Purpose of this assignment
Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 has already been transposed into a BiH Rulebook on microbiological criteria (O.G. of BiH, No 11/13). Amendments to this Rulebook are required to transpose the rules regulated by Regulation No 1495/2017, setting a process hygiene criterion for Campylobacter in broiler carcasses. This Regulation covers bacteriological sampling in slaughterhouses and at premises producing minced meat, meat preparations, mechanically separated meat and fresh meat, test method, and sampling frequencies.
The aim of this activity is to provide technical assistance to support an FSA nominated Technical Working Group to draft amendments to the Rulebook on Microbiological criteria for food and to develop the new Guidelines for the implementation of microbiological criteria. The new microbiological criteria should be prepared in accordance with EFSA new Guidance on the requirements for the development of microbiological criteria, published in October 2017. After its finalization, the Draft Guidelines will be presented and discussed in two public consultation forums involving all relevant competent authorities, laboratories and leading FBOs.
The following EU Regulations will be transposed by the amendments to the BiH Rulebook on Microbiological criteria:
- COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2017/1495 of 23 August 2017 amending Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 as regards Campylobacter in broiler carcasses
- COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2015/2285 of 8 December 2015 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down specific rules for the organization of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption as regards certain requirements for live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods and Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs
- Corrigendum, OJ L 068, 13.3.2015, p. 90 (1086/2011)
- Corrigendum, OJ L 195, 20.7.2016, p. 82 (1441/2007)
- Corrigendum, OJ L 195, 20.7.2016, p. 83 (1019/2013)
- Review and analyze the existing (i) Rulebook, and (ii) Guidelines document on microbiological criteria;
- Development of draft amendments to the new Rulebook and new Guidance, according to the new requirements in collaboration with Working Group members;
- Prepare presentations for discussions, to support the drafting and adoption process, with all necessary information concerning possible modifications (note: WG meeting minutes recoding the process should be prepared accordingly);
- Presentation of the Draft Rulebook and the Draft Guidance to all relevant stakeholders, as required, in partnership with WG members;
- Presentation and discussion with all relevant authorities and stakeholder groups in partnership with the Food Safety Agency regarding new requirements of microbiological criteria as part of the public consultation process.
- Draft amendments to the existing Rulebook of microbiological criteria for foodstuffs;
- Revised Guidelines of microbiological criteria for foodstuffs;
- Presentation for WG and other public institution on new microbiological criteria;
- Perform two public consultation forums with relevant stakeholders;
- Develop power point presentation – web-friendly training material on new Guidelines (for the AgMentor advisory platform);
- Final report including summary of main activities, results and recommendations (including all main advisory documents as annexes).
Timing and Level of Effort
Total LOE is estimated at up to 15 days (10 onsite & 5 offsite), including travel, and is expected to take place between March 2018 and May 2018. The consultant is expected to undertake two missions to BiH during this period. Some on-line support may also be required during the period.
Qualifications and skills
- University degree in veterinary science or closely related subject;
- Ideally, post-graduate degree in veterinary science, veterinary microbiology (food) or closely related subject;
- Excellent analytical, communication, presentation and facilitation skills;
- Highly proficient in spoken and written English;
- Proficiency in spoken and written BHS languages would be an asset;
- Excellent computer skills and proficiency in Microsoft Office applications;
- Proven ability to work in a team and under pressure.
- At least 10 years of relevant professional experience;
- Experience in implementation of the EU acquis in the field of veterinary, food safety;
- Proper knowledge and experience of the latest scientific and regulatory developments, knowledge of the EU regulatory framework in the area of food/feed, as well as the ability to provide advice on legislative and policy.
PLEASE PROVIDE THREE (3) PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES
CARDNO IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
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