The Network

The food retail sector covers three basic areas i) organized modern retail such as supermarket, minimart, hypermarket as well as traditional grocery stores; ii) any facility selling direct to consumer such as street foods, mobile units, market places, bakeries and sweet shops; and iii) retail foodservice industries such as restaurants, cafeteria, caterers, and other outlets in hospitals, schools, offices, etc.

Although each type of retail outlet has its own food safety issues as well as risk management options, good practices including hygiene are generally important in any food sector related activity as well as in food retail. Modern organized food retail has to deal with a large range of activities covering basic food procurement and sourcing, processing (simple as well as complex), storage or warehousing, imports and, finally, handling at the front end where interaction with customers is high. Smaller, less organized outlets such as bakeries, cafeterias, simple food handling joints and eateries are also part of retail operations and pose additional food safety risks.

One important recommendation of the Regional workshop for Asian countries on hygiene and safety in food retail held in Singapore on 12-14 September, 2013, was the creation and implementation of a Retail Food Asian Network maintained by countries to facilitate regional collaboration.

This online platform was accordingly established and aims to share information amongst countries on their country’s Food Control Systems (legislation information, policy, standards and labelling requirements, inspection, licensing, surveillance programmes, food inspector core competencies, issues and challenges and risk assessment); Best practices; Training (programmes and materials); Publications (regional and country) and Events as well other information related to the retail sector.

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