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The world comes to DTU to learn more about food safety

Students from all over the world have learned about the Danish way of securing a high level of food safety during a DANIDA-financed stay at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

According to the Global Food Security Index, Denmark is among the countries in the world with the highest level of food safety. The National Food Institute is happy to help the rest of the world learn more about the Danish way of ensuring that foods are safe and healthy.

As such, the institute’s lecturers have just completed a course where 19 students from China, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico and Vietnam learnt about the systems and thinking that support the Danish food safety system.

The Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA, funded the three-month-long study programme under the DFC Scholarship Programme. It offered students a mix of lectures, e-learning modules, assignments and field trips. They have e.g. learned how companies create their food safety/HACCP plans, how to analyze a risk and how to assess both the beneficial and harmful effects of eating certain foods such as fish.

The teachers noticed a general feeling of surprise among the students in relation to the extent to which Denmark’s high level of food safety is due to the companies carrying out own-checks within their operations rather than frequent inspection visits from public authorities. It has also been an eye opener for the students how much a system such as the Danish one reduces the authorities’ role as a control body, which frees up time for other tasks that can increase food safety.

Implementing the lessons from Denmark

The students are public employees in their home countries, where they work as e.g. civil servants, inspectors and researchers, who among other things are responsible for designing standards, controlling food businesses and testing food for the presence of unwanted substances or organisms.

The students will now translate the lessons they have learnt into action in their home countries where appropriate. This will increase food safety and improve production methods there for the benefit of consumers in their home countries as well as countries that import goods from the five countries.

Lucy Namu from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service says she is convinced that knowledge gained during her stay will be useful in identifying gaps in Kenya’s food safety regulation.

The lectures as well as the visits by authorities and companies have served to make Lucy Namu even more firmly convinced that knowledge-based legislation and a greater focus on research into food safety at the country’s universities are key to growth and export opportunities for Kenya.

Source: National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark