BACCUS e-learning training presentation

Why is Staff training so important?

In order to better understand the importance of training, a clarification of the meaning of ‘training’ and ‘education’ is here reported.

“Training is the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour” 
“Education is the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction” 
(Oxford Dictionaries)

The main differences between these two terms are based on the information given to the ‘audience’. In fact, in the case of the ‘education’ the audience are usually students and the education gives them new knowledge, usually theoretical, without improving any specific skills.

Conversely, the training is oriented towards just hired Staff needed to develop new skills or towards employees needed to improve their competencies in a specific area. In fact, the main goal of the training is to refresh and enhance Staff knowledge, in particular when new best practice or methods are introduced and updated.

The training of the Staff is a duty of both employers and employees, regulated by Employment Law. Being a duty and a right at the same time, employers and employees usually take advantage from the training to optimize the performance of their work.


Why the BACCUS e-learning platform?

BACCUS- comBAting food Crime by strengthening law enforcement Cooperation is a project to tackle food crime and improve consumer security. It is co-funded by the “European Commission - Directorate General Home Affairs” (EC-DGHA) in the framework of the “Prevention and Fight against Crime Programme”, sector “Operational law enforcement cooperation including Joint Investigation Teams - JITs”.

Aim of BACCUS is to help EU Food Safety Authorities and Law-enforcement bodies to tackle organised crime in food sector, by moving from a purely inspective to a more investigative approach because of investigative results confirm that organised crime is increasing behind international food crime. Product counterfeiting is a thriving multi-billion Euros global industry. Counterfeiting and tampering are major issues for the food industry. Food fraud, which typically means the intentional adulteration of food with cheaper ingredients for economic gain, occupies an awkward gap between Food Safety (which deals with accidental food contamination), Food Defence and Food Terrorism (which deals with intentional corruption of the food supply by terrorist groups). Food fraud, to date hasn't received much attention. Food fraudsters include a range of types, from individuals and small teams all the way to organised-crime syndicates and major corporations.

The profits of product counterfeiting have been shown to fund other organised criminal or terrorist activities. In addition to the most dangerous forms of tampering or substitution, trademark or brand fraud both have an impact on Consumer trust, and frequent or high-profile trademark infringements can seriously damage a product's or producer's market share.

Tackling food fraud is one of the main topics at European level, especially in the framework of an economical crisis as in these years. The 43rd annual CENSIS report on Italy said that in 2008 European customs police seized 2.4 million counterfeit food products, an increase of 26% over the previous year. Foodstuffs that can seriously damage the health of consumers are faked in ever-larger quantities. In this scenario, traditional Food Safety Authorities are not well equipped to react to this dangerous phenomenon, because they are trained to deal with administrative and sanitary infringements.

To this end, it is mandatory to promote joined-up working across Europe on food fraud issues, to share best practices between Countries and to raise the general awareness of food fraud so that such crimes can be detected more quickly and tackled more effectively. Analysis of recent major incidents about food fraud reveals that pockets of intelligence often existed but that there was no process to connect the dots to raise a clear warning.

The innovative aspect of BACCUS is the dissemination at EU Community level, of the best practice for that which concerns prevention, investigation, contrast procedure, instruments and activities to prevent and fight food crime. To this end, BACCUS have been performed an overview of the different experience in Europe with the aim to translate these information into suitable training courses. Such courses will be given to the main actors in EU involved in food safety in order to promote a common glossary, better cooperation and stronger information sharing.

BACCUS trainings plan both face-to-face courses and the use of the present e-learning platform. These experiences will be translated in common guidelines for food Consumers protection about food crime.

“We will call e-Learning all forms of electronic supported learning and teaching, which are procedural in character and aim to effect the construction of knowledge with reference to individual experience, practice and knowledge of the learner. Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media (specific in the sense elaborated previously) to implement the learning process.” (Tavangarian, 2004).

That means learning has a procedural and active character, which must lead to construction of knowledge by the learners on the background of the learners individual experience and knowledge.

With BACCUS e-learning platform will be quite easy to add and update information about the various Countries, overcoming the actual limited ability of information sharing existing in EU Community, largely due to the considerable fragmentation and heterogeneity in the procedures.


Why BACCUS training is so important?

This project directly addresses the ISEC programme theme “Prevention of and Fight against Crime” in the priority “enabling cooperation of the law enforcement agencies in EU-regions in particular Police and Custom Cooperation Centres” of the 2010 Call, "Development of coordination, cooperation and mutual understanding among law enforcement agencies in EU-regions".

EU organisations will benefit on the common ground of methodologies and data that this project will provide. A successful model of action will be developed with a solid national multi-agency network, complementing the transnational network. This model will allow canalising efforts and activities to combat food crime in the right direction and to make this model functioning in partner countries and beyond.

Given the positive response from a set of food firms, i.e. Coldiretti, ANMVI-Italian Veterinary Medical Association, National Consumers Union, and their impressive commitment to work on this issue, special relevance has been given to the training component, also taking into consideration the lack of knowledge of officials of different EU Community Countries. These supports are representing the core of the community of interest that would be one of the future results of the project, and they would greatly facilitate the information-eliciting phase.

Aim of BACCUS is to institutionalise, thanks to a Consortium which covers the different bodies relevant for the Food Safety (from Law enforcement to Food Safety Agencies with the involvement of Academia) a training system which could professionalise all main actors engaged to prevent and fight food crime in order to build the bases for the development of an international action plan on prevention of food fraud.

These elements are the basis for a European level assessment about prevention and fight against crime and for the definition of common measures to improve the safety & security of our food.


The importance of the training of the Staff involved in Food Official Controls

The importance of the Staff training, in particular for the Staff involved in performing official control activities, is underlined and regulated by the Regulation (EC) 882/2004. In particular, the subject matter for the training of Staff performing official controls is:

  • Different control techniques, such as auditing, sampling and inspection;
  • Control procedures;
  • Feed and food law;
  • The different stages of production, processing and distribution, and the possible risks for human health, and where appropriate for the health of animals and plants and for the environment;
  • Assessment of non-compliance with feed and food law;
  • Hazards in animal, feed and food production;
  • The evaluation of the application of HACCP procedures;
  • Management systems such as quality assurance programmes that feed and food businesses operate and their assessment in so far as these are relevant for feed or food law requirements;
  • Official certification systems;
  • Contingency arrangements for emergencies, including communication between Member States and the Commission;
  • Legal proceedings and implications of official controls;
  • Examination of written, documentary material and other records, including those related to proficiency testing, accreditation and risk assessment, which may be relevant to the assessment of compliance with feed or food law;
  • Any other area, including animal health and animal welfare, necessary to ensure that official controls are carried out in accordance with this Regulation (Annex II Regulation (EC) 882/2004).