Food Safety and Quality Specialists

Closure Date: 18/Sep/2018, 11:59:00 PM

  • Organizational Unit: REU
  • Type of Requisition: Consultant / PSA (Personal Services Agreement)
  • Primary Location: Hungary-Budapest
  • Duration: Up to 11 months

Organizational Setting

The Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (REU) is responsible for leading FAO’s response to regional priorities for food security, agriculture, rural development and supports the achievement of national commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), through the identification, planning and implementation of activities in the region and at national level. Food safety and quality has been identified as an important priority to be addressed in order to improve agri-food trade, strengthen market integration, assure healthy food systems, and protect consumer health.

Reporting Lines

The Consultant reports to the REU Food Safety and Consumer Protection Officer, who is responsible for overseeing the technical programme of work. In addition, the consultant also receives general supervision and guidance from the FAO Representatives or country teams when working directly in countries.

Technical Focus

The Regional Office provides technical support to Governments in improving their systems to ensure food safety and quality along the food chain. This technical assistance includes, but is not limited to, assessing food control systems, or parts thereof, and strengthening specific functions, programmes and capacities essential to planning, and implementing effective food control. The range of expertise required includes domestic food inspection capacities, border management and imported/exported food controls; laboratory management and food analytical capacities; risk assessment of chemicals and microbiological hazards in food, food safety policy and strategy development, institutional arrangements and use of the risk analysis framework; review of food legislation and standards; building adequate national Codex programmes, and effective participation in Codex Alimentarius processes.

In addition, technical assistance may focus on strengthening specific value chain food safety management systems; on-farm food safety, and fostering public-private collaboration.

The applicant is required to be able to apply a mix of technical and analytical skills, in line with modern approaches of food control, including the use of the risk analysis paradigm, and the application of a holistic One Health approach. Effective analytical and communication skills are required to facilitate careful consideration of national and/or regional policy issues, to ensure delivery of tailor-made support to meet country needs. Assignments may be home-based and/or include in-country work of varying mission duration.

Tasks and responsibilities

Applicants with experience in multiple technical areas as well as specialists in a very specific area are required to address the range of requests dealt with through the REU programme of work on food safety. The planned activities require advanced skills and professional competencies in the following technical areas:


  1. Analyse situations, systems and policy contexts of national food control systems and supporting institutional analysis and reform,
  2. Formulate policies and strategies, contributing to evaluations of legal frameworks, contributing to drafting food laws and standards,
  3. Prepare and implementing training courses or workshops on food control, and providing specific technical advice,
  4. Design capacity development interventions, including project formulation, project management, reporting and monitoring frameworks in line with FAO requirements,
  5. Design and conducting research, data collection and analysis, and prepare technical reports/publications,
  6. Develop food safety and food control training materials and curricula, including for academic use and on the job professional learning,


  1. Review country approaches and institutional arrangements for official food control systems, or parts thereof, and provide recommendations for improvement;
  2. Lead or support, as a team member, the assessment of national food control systems, using FAO approaches, such as the FAO/WHO food control system assessment tool, and guide strategic discussions for progressive improvement of the national food control capacities;
  3. Review food safety and quality policies, and lead or provide support to their (re)formulation, using evidence-based approaches;
  4. Contribute to the review of legal frameworks and secondary legislation and food standards applicable for food control;
  5. Assess national capacities with regard to Codex Alimentarius work, provide recommendations for improved involvement in Codex Alimentarius processes and increase knowledge and capacities;
  6. Provide guidance on strengthening food safety risk assessment processes in microbiological, chemical or other risk disciplines, including emerging food safety risks, as well as use of the risk analysis framework by food control authorities;
  7. Review laboratory networks and make recommendations to rationalise and strengthen them, strengthen capacities on food laboratory management and quality assurance, data management, provide training on specific detection and analytical methods;
  8. Support the implementation of food safety management systems (such as Good Hygienic Practices, Pre-Requisite Programmes and HACCP) along value chains;
  9. Advise on border control and procedures for import and export food controls;
  10. Support development of risk based approaches for domestic and/or import inspection;
  11. Support development of food safety emergency preparedness and response, capacities in traceability and recall systems;
  12. Advise countries on WTO SPS rules and requirements including during the WTO accession phase;
  13. Provide guidance on essential food quality and prevention of food fraud as an element of official food control system.



 Minimum Requirements

  • Advanced university degree (MSc or equivalent) for Consultants/ University Degree for PSAs in food science, food and nutrition policy, food technology, veterinary, chemistry, microbiology, agricultural engineering and other related disciplines.
  • 5 years relevant experience in one or more areas related to official food control policy and systems development, food safety risk assessment, international and regional food standards and regulation, quality and safety management in value chains,  planning and operating food control capacity development projects and activities.
  • Working knowledge of English and knowledge of a second FAO language, (preferably Russian) for Consultants. Working knowledge of English (for PSAs).

FAO Core Competencies

  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Additional Selection Criteria

  • Experience in managing, planning and operating projects in transition countries in the region is an asset.



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