Conference on ‘Quality and Safety of Aquatic Products’: FAO showcases a typical innovation through the FTT-Thiaroye fish processing technique

3 July 2015

The FTT-Thiaroye processing technique generated considerable interest at the ‘Campus de la Mer’ conference held recently (17 to 19 June 2015) in Boulogne-sur-Mer (France).

The objective of the conference was to discuss key challenges and new research perspectives related to quality and safety of aquatic products, but also to promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences. Ensuring the safety and quality of seafood for both domestic and international markets is a central food safety objective for all Governmental authorities, industries, and research institutes.

The ‘Campus de la Mer’ conference was attended by stakeholders and potential partners, with approximately 80 professionals from the scientific community (including from Spain, Norway, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria), as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and aquaculture and fisheries institutions from France. Amongst others there was AQUIMER (a national Competitiveness Cluster providing an active interface for companies), the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), the innovation platform Nouvelles Vagues which provides pooled research and innovation resources for the fishing industry, laboratories within the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). FAO was represented by Ms. Aina Randrianantoandro, consultant in knowledge sharing networks promotion at the Products, Trade and Marketing branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

The conference was composed of four (4) sessions, focusing respectively on chemical and biological contaminants of aquatic products, on ‘halio-authenticité’ (a programme allowing experts and professionals to know exactly the characteristics and origin of fish products they buy and market) and sustainable aquaculture. A technical session on regulatory and commercial aspects of fish trade completed the program.

FAO showcased the FAO-Thiaroye processing technique (FTT-Thiaroye), a practical example of a fish safety and quality assurance tool in the hot-smoked as well as dried fish value chains. Indeed this technique helps improve the safety of products for smallholders and medium scale fish operators by significantly lowering the level of contaminants like the cancer agents Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Ms Randrianantoandro’s presentation recalled that the development framework of this technique was a collaboration between FAO and CNFTPA in Senegal, within the African Network of Fish Technology and Safety/ANFTS and the advisory service from ONIRIS in France. The positive impacts generated by the adoption of this technique in terms of improved market access by smoked fish producers were highlighted. The presentation and the project documentary were overwhelmingly received. ‘’I know very well the fishing community of Abobodoumé, said Dr. Nobah Céline a conference participant, from the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Abidjan. I saw those processing fish in the traditional way, using barrels, and smoking fish in quite bad environment conditions. FAO made a great job with the development of the FTT-Thiaroye, which also improved the working conditions of women fish processors and their livelihoods. Now it is important to ensure equal access to inputs such as the fuel required for this technique’’.

This conference on ‘Quality and safety of aquatic products’ was the first of its kind organized by the ‘Campus de la Mer’. The next one is expected in 2017 where FAO along with other national and international counterparts will provide more diversified contributions on fish quality and safety related-topic.

As for the FTT-Thiaroye technology in particular, it is now in use in West and East African fishing nations. Currently, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – through its Fisheries and Aquaculture Department – is working towards its dissemination in Africa and beyond, in countries in Asia and Latin America where there is commonality with this technology.



  
Watch the video of the fishing community in Abobodoume who received prototypes of the FTT-Thiaroye fish processing technique