Safer Foods, Safer World: USDA Combines Science, Commerce, and E-Learning

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

June 07, 2021

As we mark World Food Safety Day, we mark the fifth anniversary of the Food Safety Network (FSN), a partnership between the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the USDA, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FSN provides developing countries with the tools and training necessary to strengthen animal and plant health, food safety and agricultural trade. But that’s not all. FSN’s work also supports the goals of the US government’s Global Food Security Strategy 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 heart of the FSN are three pillars: technical assistance; Knowledge management; and online learning tools. Its flagship e-learning platform is a set of 16 sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) courses that provide training for foreign policy makers, farmers, ranchers, industry leaders, etc.

Classes 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 Agreement obligations. World Trade Organization SPS to reduce trade barriers.

FAS has partnered with Texas A&M University, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection, FDA, and USAID to create courses that combine interactive learning objectives, exams pre and post, case studies and graphics. Classes can be supplemented with 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 benefited from SPS distance learning modules.

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

Category / Subject:
Health and security

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