The Swiss-Ukrainian Program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (hereinafter – QFTP), despite the difficult times for Ukraine, continues supporting the improvement of the national milk safety control system and facilitates the harmonization of the regulatory framework with the EU requirements and development of the control procedures equivalent to those applied in the EU. Thus, on 15-19 May 2023 the training of trainers on risk-based inspection of dairy FBOs was held in Vinnytsia. Total 31 participants, including the representatives of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine (MAPFU), central office of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection (SSUFSCP), and one specialist from every SSUFSCP Main Directorate in oblasts took part in the training.  

In her welcome speech, Nataliya Schyrova, Head of Food Safety Division, Department of State Policy in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, thanked Switzerland and QFTP experts for continued support in aligning the approaches to state control of dairy FBOs with the EU requirements, given the current course of Ukraine. She also thanked the SSUFSCP Main Directorate in Mykolaiv oblast for assistance in organizing the event, in particular, for the opportunity to conduct practical simulated inspections, which is crucial after many years of work online. She also noted that the training was a great opportunity for regional specialists to gain knowledge, practical experience, and get answers to the questions they often have in their routine work, and she also called on the participants to make sure to share the gained knowledge among their colleagues on the ground. 

Iuliya Hlukhonets, Deputy Director of Department – Head of Division for Personnel Development and Assessment and Coordination of Continuing Professional Development of the HR and Organizational Development Department of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, highlighted the importance of professional development at the time of significant changes in the legislation and approaches to state control.  She thanked the QFTP experts for the fruitful cooperation in creating the distance learning courses and their regular updating and stressed that during the training the video of theoretical presentations and simulated inspections  of the dairy farm would be recorded to create the video materials which would be uploaded to the SSUFSCP e-learning platform and used to disseminate knowledge among other professionals.

Grygoriy Sydoruk, Head of the SSUFSCP Main Directorate in Vinnytsia oblast, noted that Vinnytsia oblast had been one of the pilot oblasts of the previous Swiss-Ukrainian Milk Safety Project and is currently supporting all the QFTP initiatives to implement the risk-based control of dairy production as milk and dairy products are indeed promising products for trade development on the domestic and international markets. He recommended the participants to use the opportunity to gain experience during that practical training and maximum knowledge from the professional team of trainers. 

Manon Schuppers, QFTP international expert, noted that Ukraine is currently on the path of adapting it national legislation to the EU requirements, and the changes in the field of food safety and animal health are a big part of this harmonization. In particular, in order to implement the system of control in production and circulation of safe dairy products it is crucial to change the approach to inspection for the efficient use of time and available resources, but at the same time pay attention to the risk factors which might cause new risks and lead to placing unsafe products on the market. Taking into account the importance of introducing the risk-based inspection into the SSUFSCP’s routine work, QFTP continues to provide specialists with relevant knowledge and tools. 

The training was aimed at:

– clarifying the EU and Ukraine’s requirements for safety and quality of milk and dairy products   and basis for the risk-based inspection;

– improving practical skills of the SSUFSCP specialists in preparing and conducting the risk-based inspection of milk producers and milk collection points and sampling according to the SOP in raw milk sampling to determine SCC and TBC;

– preparing trainers, i.e. specialists of the SSUFSCP Main Directorates of every oblast, in the risk-based inspection of FBOs to conduct theoretical and practical trainings for other SSUFSCP specialists and authorized veterinarians in future.   

During the theoretical part of the training the topics of continuing professional development of the SSUFSCP specialists, results and recommendations of the most recent audit of Ukraine by the  European Food Safety Authority to evaluate the official control and certification of milk and dairy products for export to the EU, hygienic requirements for small-scale production and circulation of milk, procedure of milk sampling and transportation, and stages of the risk-based inspection were addressed. The stage of preparing to the inspection of milk producers and milk collection points was practiced, in particular, the specialists of the SSUFSCP Main Directorate in Vinnytsia oblast presented the results of the previous checks of FBOs’ data, demonstrated the Dairy Module functionality, namely, the Inspector account and possibility to use the data from the Dairy Module to prepare the state control.  

The training participants worked in groups together with the QFTP experts and conducted the simulated risk-based inspections and practiced the theoretical knowledge gained at the facilities of dairy farm Veles Vita FE  (Druzhba village, Mohyliv Podilskyi rayon, Vinnytsia oblast) and milk collection point V.I. Panasiuk PE (Prushanka village, Khmilnyk rayon, Vinnytsia oblast).

During the training the participants were extremely proactive, asked questions and vividly discussed the results of the simulated inspections and aspects which are important for integrating risk-based inspection into routine work.     

The state inspectors were awarded with relevant certificates after evaluation of efficiency of the knowledge they had gained.

The theoretical part of the training and simulated inspection of the dairy farm were recorded, and the video material will be uploaded to the SSUFSCP e-learning platform.

As the next step it is planned to organize the training of trainers with the simulated inspection of a dairy processing enterprise and conduct theoretical and practical trainings for other SSUFSCP specialists and authorized veterinarians by the trained trainers in every oblast.

The QFTP team is grateful to Grygoriy Sydoruk, Head of the SSUFSCP Main Directorate in Vinnytsia oblast, and Andrii Saliuk, Valeriy Byrka, Vitaliy Kravets and Robert Akopov, specialists of the SSUFSCP Main Directorate in Vinnytsia oblast, for their assistance in organizing and conducting the training, as well as Petro Strusievych, Manager of Veles Vita FE, and Valentyna Panasiuk, owner of the milk collection point, for the possibility to conduct the simulated inspection for the SSUFSCP state inspectors.

This event was organized with support of Switzerland in the frame of the Swiss-Ukrainian Project “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” implemented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL, Switzerland) in partnership with SAFOSO AG (Switzerland) and with participation of the Sate Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection.