College Park, Dec. 12-13, 2013.
JIFSAN hosted the regional workshop on laboratory capacity building entitled: "Framework for Self-Assessment of Laboratory Capacity Building Needs and Prioritization". The objective of this year's workshop was to develop a process of prioritization of laboratory needs, which could involve either country-wide or local self-assessments, and would be application across the region. Each APEC economy was solicited to nominate at least two participants and it was recommended that they be laboratory analysts or managers with the analytical experience that would enable all to contribute to roundtable discussions about prioritization and priorities.
The workshop was a great success, with participation from Chile, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Mexico, Russia, Australia and the United-States.
The two-day meeting was hosted at the University of Maryland, which also provided the opportunity to include some hands-on laboratory demonstrations of rapid methods in microbiology at the International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL). The demos were presented in collaboration with 3M, Life Technologies, BioMerieux, BioControl and Dupont to answer the information imbalance identified as a hurdle to laboratory capacity during pilot work in Chile. In addition, participants were given the option to register for a 9-day hands-on training session on mycotoxins analysis at the IFSTL.
Input from all participants was collected and will be translated into a decision tool for the prioritization of laboratory capacity building in food safety.
There were strong imperatives to avoid duplicating existing resources in this project, so assessment and prioritization tools used by international organization were investigated. The World Organization for Animal Health Tool for the Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services (OIE PVS) tool was selected as a good model for assessment, and the Multi Criteria Decision Analysis developed to prioritize Sanitary and PhytoSanitary capacity building needs at the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), and used in many occasions by UNIDO could be tailored to fit the purpose of prioritization for laboratory capacity. The information gathered during the roundtable discussions at the workshop will be included in an adaptation of the tools mentioned above.
The tools will be made available on the APEC FSCF PTIN website in Beta form in the Spring 2014. Input will be sought from stakeholders in the region to finalize the tool and evaluate its applicability.