1. Introduction

Aim: This survey aims to increase understanding of existing and/or planned regulatory frameworks and practices related to voluntary third-party assurance (vTPA) programmes (including quality management systems, assurance schemes or certification programmes) in food and feed safety. It is linked to work by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) to pilot the use of vTPA programmes in Africa and Central America, and complementary work by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in the Arab and COMESA regions. It incorporates some questions from a previous survey on food safety governance by Dr Tetty Havinga (Radboud University).

Who should complete this survey?
Representatives from government authorities with a role in food safety are kindly requested to complete this survey. We would like to learn from your knowledge and experiences. We will report on the collective responses received. Individual responses will be treated anonymously. 

vTPA programmes: The Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCIFCS) defines vTPA programmes as: "a non-governmental or autonomous scheme compromising of the ownership of a standard that utilizes national/international requirements; a governance structure for certification and enforcement, and in which food-business operator (FBO) participation is voluntary" (CX/FICS 18/24/6).

The vTPA approach is enabled through the Codex Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems (CAC GL 82-2013) which states that “where quality assurance systems are used by food business operators, the national food control system should take them into account where such systems relate to protecting consumer health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade​” (para 54).

Getting started: Please respond to the questions below based on your best knowledge. If you have any reservations with any questions or additional information which you might want to share, please do so at the end of each section. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete, and responses are welcomed until 19 June 2020.
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