About Collaborative Training Initiatives

About the JIFSAN Collaborative Training Initiatives (CTI)

For the past twenty years JIFSAN, has been a key player in the development and delivery of food safety training programs to the international community. Refer to Programs on our international page for a complete listing and description of the JIFSAN training programs that have been offered, collectively, over 100 times in almost 30 countries. Training dates and locations are provided. The programs usually are conducted by the JIFSAN team, which recruits Subject Matter Experts (SME) from Universities, the private sector, and U.S. government agencies including the FDA and USDA. SME who work for foreign government agencies and other in-country organizations often participate as well.

Training internationally is expensive and resources may be limited or their availability uncertain. One way for JIFSAN to leverage its existing training resources is to develop partnerships within a country or region with the goal of increasing the cadre of in-country trainers. The concept of the JIFSAN CTI for food safety was conceived to help meet these needs. The key principles in the development of a CTI and other partnerships are defined in the US-FDA’s International Capacity Building Plan

To date, JIFSAN has established five CTIs in different locations. The food groups covered by these CTIs include, seafood, spices, processed food, and fresh produce. In addition, specialized program offerings have been developed and delivered for topics that are normally beyond the scope of JIFSAN’s purview. The impact of any CTI is expected to go farther than just helping to ensure the safety of food exported to the U.S. It also will improve the safety of the country’s domestic food supply and the health and livelihoods of those producing and handling the food.

The General Approach to the Development of a CTI

The needs for food safety training in a specific location might be identified by several ways. Perhaps the most compelling is to review the number of interceptions of contaminated product by regulatory officials at the border. Taking this a step further, authorities may review the numbers of outbreaks of illness associated with specific food from specific countries. Once JIFSAN is made aware of a specific need for training, it begins the process of identifying and obtaining buy-in from potential in-country partners. These might include government agencies or ministries, industry, academia, trade associations, local institutions, or perhaps others. The partnership can be formalized with the development of an Agreement of Cooperation or some other formal agreement that fits the policies of the partner institutions.

The development of a CTI can be accomplished through a phased approach that includes a combination of in-country training activities followed by specialized training at the University of Maryland campus or at other training locations in the U.S. The CTIs for training in seafood, spices and processed foods were established in this manner. Phase I was the delivery of a standard JIFSAN training program in-country. Phase II entailed the selection of a small group of highly-qualified program participants from the first phase and bringing that group to the U.S. for specialized training. During Phase II, participants develop a plan for implementing training programs in their home country. Subsequent Phases III, IV and beyond include all training activities in-country that serve to multiply the numbers of qualified trainers. Such activities are flexible and depend upon the needs of the country. In some cases, JIFSAN instructors traveled to the host country, not only to teach but to mentor local trainers as they lead in the delivery of training programs. JIFSAN also has developed specialized training materials to meet specific needs and made those available to the CTI partners.

In other examples the, competent authority from a country has reached out to JIFSAN and requested training to enhance their country’s food safety and quality program. Thailand, Jamaica, Belize and Malaysia all are examples of countries that have taken this step.

Keep Reading

Keep reading (follow links below) for details about each CTI, how it evolved, the partnerships, and the training programs and other activities that have been implemented as a result of the CTI formation. Contact us with your questions or concerns to learn more about CTI activities.