Food facilities looking to get exported food products onto the shelves of U.S. supermarkets are required to have food safety plans in place. In East Africa, the USAID Hub is supporting specialty food firms to compete in the U.S. market by building their capacity to meet U.S. food safety requirements. This helps ensure food safety for U.S. consumers and positions East African firms for greater exports to the U.S.
Food safety plans include an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls that minimize or prevent foodborne illness or injury to protect U.S. consumers. Private sector enterprises interested in accessing the U.S. market therefore need to understand food safety requirements, especially those under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which states that all companies that manufacture/process, package or hold food must satisfy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety standards.
The USAID Hub provides technical assistance to East African firms in the specialty foods sector to become more competitive exporters by building their knowledge and understanding of food safety requirements, the process to implement the requirements and the necessity to document all activities as they pertain to the process. As part of this effort, the USAID Hub is supporting firms to achieve Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification. HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
Between now and May 2019, the Hub will support pre-selected firms to meet U.S. food safety plan requirements and achieve HACCP certification through facility gap assessments, food safety trainings and coaching. The supported firms are expected to put in place the HACCP system, pass a third-party audit and become certified, enabling a larger number of firms to meet U.S. demand for specialty food products. This will contribute to greater – and safer – trade between the U.S. and East Africa in a priority sector under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).