National Restaurant Association (NRA) representatives traveled to China last month to expand the organization’s commitment to food safety education beyond American borders.
While the NRA is already engaged in the Chinese market through its ServSafe International program with partner Ecolab, the trip served as an opportunity to further discuss the importance of food safety training with Chinese foodservice industry professionals and government officials.
“We are pleased to continue to develop our presence in China with our partner Ecolab and share best practices for food safety training,” says David Matthews, senior vice president of the NRA. “As the U.S. restaurant industry gets more connected to international markets, it’s more important than ever to focus on food safety. American restaurant companies with locations abroad are very focused on delivering the same high-quality meals whether guests dine in New York City, Beijing, or Rio de Janeiro. Programs like our ServSafe International can help them deliver that.”
Matthews presented details on the ServSafe Food Safety training program at the China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA) conference. Ecolab also signed an agreement with CCFA to provide the ServSafe International Manager Program to its customers. Ecolab is the exclusive distributor of ServSafe International in China.
In addition, NRA and Ecolab China met with representatives from the State Food and Drug Administration, China’s regulatory body for restaurants and food safety, and its Institute of Executive Development (SFDAIED), which oversees the curriculum and implementation of food safety and other training programs.
Foodservice training is a relatively new function for the administration, which is looking to expand its services at both national and provincial levels. This meeting was a continuation of meetings held in May during the NRA Show 2012, when SFDAIED representatives visited the U.S.
New Chinese regulations that provide direction for the overall framework of its food safety system were released in 2010, and more are being introduced in the near future. The NRA has agreed to share its expertise with the SFDAIED detailing how the United States’ regulatory system works for food safety training, supply chain food safety, and restaurant inspections.
The SFDAIED hopes to further develop its best practices and training programs for restaurant operations, inspections, and food safety based on guidance from the NRA.
“The United States has some of the highest food safety standards in the world, and we are excited to contribute to the development of similar high standards in China,” Matthrews says. “Both at home and abroad, food safety training of individuals who handle and prepare food is the most important foundation in that process.”
The SFDAIED also expressed interest in further exploring the NRA’s training programs—ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Food Handler, ManageFirst, and ProStart—for potential adoption.
In addition, the NRA attended the inaugural Global Food Safety (GFSI) Focus Day China 2012 to network with 450 fellow industry professionals. GFSI collaborates with industry, government, and trade associations in China to increase the standard of food safety throughout the supply chain.
The NRA will continue to work with Ecolab in China to expand its ServSafe International presence, both at the national and provincial levels. ServSafe International is currently available in dozens of markets worldwide and works with multinational restaurant companies to extend the high standards of food safety in the United States to locations in other countries to ensure that guests receive a safe and enjoyable experience.