Monitoring of imported food for compliance with international standards and other requirements is based upon a risk based system of control. The system places emphasis on those products determined to be high-risk food products in terms of human health based upon known and potential food hazards associated with these foods. Monitoring of lower risk or no risk food products will be maintained at a surveillance level to assure consistent compliance by importers, shippers and exporting enterprises.
The Risk Based System allows for some refinements and improved effectiveness to the food control process. It calls for an assessment of the risks associated with the known or potential hazards of food. This process takes into consideration before the control measures are applied, the nature of the hazards, and the impact on the consumer in terms of severity, which results in a clear idea of what should be examined for what types of hazards based on a priority system associated with the severity of the risk to the consumers. It allows for the allocation of resources to be clearly devoted to the most important areas of consumer protection. It enhances the effectiveness of the control measures by having a predetermined plan of what entries will be sampled and what they will be tested for, while not spending scarce resources on those entries which have little to no impact on the health of the consumer.
Since Jordan has limited resources to execute a specific risk assessment that will be costly as well time consuming. Thus, a thorough study was done on various international organizations researches and some government's experiences (i.e. Canadian and Australian). The literatures were studied by a National committee, with slight modifications incorporated to adapt to national experience, climate, public acceptance and cautious trend for higher policy makers.
For the purpose of import food control, criteria based on the public health risk associated with various foods or other compliance or procedural factors was utilized to select food entries for appropriate monitoring, where food products have been categorized into three groups; High, Medium and Low–risk food groups. The control is exercised through the computerized Selectivity Module of the Automated System for Custom Data (ASYCUDA) which was massaged into a closed cycle to adapt the food categories and their selectivity criteria . Food entries entered into the ASYCUDA system was identified by their Harmonized system-HS code for specific handling by food control officials and importers in the clearance procedures.
For archiving and tracking purposes, a Food Import Management Information System (FIMIS) was engineered, programmed and deployed successfully on September 2002 as an information archive base to assist the Food officials in identifying trends and analyzing statistical data, regarding the safety of imported food products arriving through the Aqaba port for Jordan. Furthermore, the statistics and identified trends will further enforce the streamlined process and selectivity model used for managing imported food utilizing the Online Analyses Processing (OLAP) as a business tool for data management.
The system will provide information useful in coordinating Jordanian cooperative activities with international efforts to improve the overall quality and safety of import food in the region.