Through an initiative led by the Chilean Food Safety and Quality Agency (ACHIPIA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Chile has become the first country in Latin America to implement a food control system assessment facilitated by FAO. The initiative is meant to improve strategic planning and strengthen governance around food safety.

The launch event for the evaluation took place in Santiago, Chile, from December 11–15. High-profile Chilean policymakers were in attendance, including Santiago Rojas, Acting Undersecretary of Agriculture, and Diego Varela, Executive Secretary of ACHIPIA.

The assessment, funded by FAO and the government of Chile, represents the Chilean government's commitment to building an inclusive and sustainable food control system, with FAO at the forefront of supporting this change. In a speech on the first day of the week-long workshop, Mr. Rojas emphasized the importance of addressing gaps for small producers and working towards a more sustainable agrifood system.

Additionally, Mr. Varela highlighted the pivotal role of FAO in supporting competent authorities and underscored the importance of measurement in control and improvement processes. Chile views the implementation of the joint FAO/World Health Organization Food Control System Assessment Tool, which is based on internationally recognized Codex guidance and is capable of assessing the national food control systems in a comprehensive manner, as a crucial step in evaluating and fostering continuous improvement in the country's food control system.

As part of the project, a team of food safety experts from FAO will work closely with local food safety authorities and relevant stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of the national food control system and develop a strategy to improve the country’s public health and economic development. The FAO team will assist Chilean authorities through an eight-month process, which will result in the development of a set of recommendations and a strategic framework to facilitate their implementation.

A workshop, which took place at the Universidad Santo Tomás in Santiago, Chile, involved training Chilean authorities on a total of 18 focal points crucial to data collection. On the first day, FAO officials Giovanna Sartori and Jairo Romero introduced the assessment to the larger public, outlining its general purpose and specific objectives.

As FAO spearheads this assessment in Latin America, the outcomes are expected to set a benchmark for the region, promoting a more robust and effective approach to food safety and quality.