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Food Safety and Quality Specialist

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Security and Safety
    • Nutrition
    • Food Security, Livestock and Livelihoods
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-19

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device


FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender and nationality

People with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations depending on the evolving needs of the Organization


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 and rural development through the identification, planning and implementation of FAO’s priority activities in the region. It ensures a multidisciplinary approach to programmes, identifies priority areas of action for the Organization in the Region and, in collaboration with departments and divisions at Headquarters, develops, promotes and oversees FAO's strategic response to regional priorities. REU also advises on the incorporation of regional priorities into the Organization’s Programme of Work and Budget and implements approved programmes and projects in the region, monitors the level of programme implementation and draws attention to problems and deficiencies. REU develops and maintains relations with region-wide institutions including the Regional Economic Integration Organizations (REIOs).

The Regional Office supports regional policy dialogue on food security, agriculture and rural development issues, sustainable food systems, and facilitates the emergence of regional partnerships, and supports capacity development and resource mobilization in the region.

Reporting Lines

The Food Safety Specialist 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

Food safety and quality has been identified as an important priority to be addressed in the Europe and Central Asia region in order to improve agri-food trade, strengthen market integration, assure healthy food systems, and protect consumer health. 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 aim of this call is to identify food safety and quality experts who are able to contribute to FAO’s program of work in the region.

The range of expertise required includes 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; domestic food inspection capacities; export/import requirements, including WTO agreements; laboratory management and food analytical capacities; as well as risk assessment of chemicals and microbiological hazards in food.

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

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 most capable applicants will be included in a roster and contracted for different assignments (ranging from several weeks up to 11 months). These assignments are usually home-based and include in-country work of varying mission duration.

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.

The planned activities require advanced skills and professional competencies in technical areas listed below.

Tasks and responsibilities

Technical aspects:

  • Review country approaches and institutional arrangements for official food control systems, or parts thereof, and provide recommendations for improvement;
  • 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;

  • Review food safety and quality policies, and lead or provide support to their (re)formulation, using evidence-based approaches;
  • Contribute to the review of legal frameworks and secondary legislation and food standards applicable for food control, including drafting food laws and standards;
  • Assess national capacities with regard to Codex Alimentarius work, provide recommendations for improved involvement in Codex Alimentarius processes and increase knowledge and capacities;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Support the implementation of food safety management systems (such as Good Hygienic Practices, Pre-Requisite Programmes and HACCP) along value chains;
  • Advise on border control and procedures for import and export food controls, including risk based approaches for domestic and/or import inspection;
  • Support development of food safety emergency preparedness and response, capacities in traceability and recall systems;
  • Provide direct guidance and build capacities on food safety risk communication;
  • Advise countries on WTO SPS rules and requirements including during the WTO accession phase;
  • Provide guidance on essential food quality and prevention of food fraud as an element of official food control system.
  • Advise countries on the regulation and monitoring of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Capacity development tasks:

  • Analyse situations, systems and policy contexts of national food control systems and supporting institutional analysis and reform,
  • Prepare and implement training courses or workshops on food control, and providing specific technical advice,
  • Design capacity development interventions, including project formulation, project management, reporting and monitoring frameworks in line with FAO requirements,
  • Design and conducting research, data collection and analysis, and prepare technical reports/publications,
  • Develop food safety and food control training materials and curricula, including for academic use and on the job professional learning,


Minimum Requirements

  • University Degree 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 French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese or Russian, for Consultants. Working knowledge of English (for PSAs).

FAO Core Competencies

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

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Extent and relevance of experience in managing, planning and operating projects in transition countries in the region;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in food safety governance and official food control, or in ensuring food safety in specific value chains such as dairy, meat, and fruit and vegetable sectors;
  • Limited knowledge of Russian is an asset.

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency


We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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