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Lebanon confirms interest in boosting food safety and ensuring the quality of food exports and imports

In a context of complex international supply chains, ensuring food safety is increasingly becoming a priority for governments and consumers alike. The need to guarantee the quality of food imports and exports – which is also essential for international trade – is an important feature of this, with the provision of adequate transport conditions for foodstuffs playing a crucial role.

The United Nations Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be Used for such Carriage (ATP), hosted by UNECE, provides a framework to ensure that food is transported in conditions that guarantee its safety and quality.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, there is growing interest in ATP as a solution to food safety and quality issues.

A national training workshop on ATP held this week in Beirut, Lebanon, presented key stakeholders from the public and private sectors with the objectives, main provisions and benefits of the ATP Agreement, highlighting the importance of adherence to the ATP Agreement for ensuring food safety.

“Food safety is a key issue and temperature control at all stages of the cold chain is essential”, said Mr. Abdel Hafeez Kaissi, Director General of the Land and Maritime Transport Directorate, Ministry of Public Works and Transport of Lebanon. “Lebanon is interested in acceding to and implementing the ATP Agreement to enhance food safety in the country and to open up new markets for Lebanese transporters”, he stated.

Within the region, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia are already contracting parties to ATP and it is in the best interest of countries exporting perishable foodstuffs to these countries to accede to the agreement.

The ATP Agreement establishes uniform prescriptions for the preservation of the quality of perishable foodstuffs during international transport. It defines norms and standards for refrigerated vehicles, and uniform distinguishing marks for refrigerated vehicles so that inspectors can easily check their conformity with the ATP. It also sets temperature conditions for frozen and chilled foodstuffs.

The workshop was organized by the EU-funded EuroMed Transport Support Project, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport of Lebanon. For more information on the workshop, please visit: http://etsp.eu/?ai1ec_event=lebanon-national-training-workshop-on-atp-2&instance_id=10

For more information on ATP, please visit https://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp11.html