Argentina has a National Food Surveillance System that contributes to the prevention and control of new food incidents. As it is a federal country, the control of food safety is based on the coordination between the agencies responsible for applying the Argentine Food Code at municipal, provincial and national levels.
In order to strengthen food incident management procedures and improve linkage and coordination at the federal level, a federal network of food surveillance information was developed and implemented.
This network allows linking all food control authorities simultaneously, enabling food incident information to be immediately available and facilitating the planning and coordination of integrated management actions, as well as the updating and monitoring of that information on a federal platform.
One of the most outstanding characteristics of the network is that it constitutes a horizontal operating tool in which all the nodes have the information at the same time. The immediate knowledge of the food incidents reported by the nodes allows the rapid activation of management and early response mechanisms.
Furthermore, the National Administration of Drugs, Food, and Medical Devices (ANMAT), through the National Institute of Food, has official control programs for monitoring food products and its manufacturers. Among the national programs, the surveillance of chemical and biological contaminants stands out through the Federal Surveillance Program, which aims to strengthen both prevention activities, alert and rapid response systems, through the detection of hazards present in the food.
The selection of food products to investigate with the Federal Surveillance Program is based on the following health risk: chemical composition; population for whom it is intended; history of foodborne illness; history of improper use of additives and seasonality of consumption of certain products.
Even though ensuring food safety is a shared responsibility between the public and private sectors, a coordinated work must be carried out between the health authority and the company when a food recall takes place.