From the field to the table: the state and business can manage risks together

5 february 2018

The Analytical Center has held a strategy session on how to identify and systematize critical risks for the life and health of people that occur during the field to the table life-cycle of food stuffs. Representatives of business, state agencies and the expert community discussed the risks and ways to properly manage them, which can be employed by manufacturers of agricultural products, the food industry and food retailers.

The head of the project management office for the implementation of the reform of the monitoring and supervision function Mikhail Pryadilnikov stressed that the issue of risks is relevant to everyone and so it was important to hear out both business and experts on the issue before building a risk management system with government officials. "Different countries have different risk management systems. There is no such thing as a single right approach and that's why we need this discussion," he noted.

"The main goal of the state supervision reform is to reduce the risks to the life and health of the public," the Head of the Forum Analytical Center Alexander Bragin reminded those present, "So whatever solutions go into the reform must be aimed at improving public safety while taking into account business interests."

Having broken up into groups, the session participants discussed the risks that exist in the entire production chain as food stuffs travel from the field to the table. It was especially important to note which risks businesses can manage on their own and which risks state interference may be required for in order to ensure quality and safety of food stuffs.

The participants agreed that for effective risk management in the production and sale of food stuffs a single information system had to be created to allow for the quality and safety of food stuffs to be tracked at every stage of their journey from the field to the table.

Other countries widely use industry-wide quality management standards in the production of food stuffs to guarantee adherence to production processes, monitor the safety of raw materials and conformance to sanitary requirements during production.

Market players that have introduced cutting edge quality management standards in production must not be subject to extensive state supervision on condition that the effectiveness of their systems is confirmed by independent audits, the experts believe. However, the issue of unscrupulous behavior on the part of some participants in the production chain still remains relevant, and it is suggested that it be addressed with state supervision.