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THE FUTURE

OF FOOD
SAFETY
First FAO/WHO/AU International
Food Safety Conference 
Addis, 12-13 February
THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

CONTENTS
PAGES 4–5
INTRODUCTION
PAGES 6–7
KEY MESSAGES
PAGES 8–11
FOOD SAFETY
IS FOOD SECURITY
PAGES 12–15
FOOD SAFETY
IS SCIENCE CENTRED
PAGES 16–19
FOOD SAFETY REQUIRES
SHARED SOLUTIONS
IT IS
PARAMOUNT
PAGES 20–23
FOOD SAFETY
IN EMERGENCIES
THAT WE FIND
SUSTAINABLE
WAYS TO
CULTIVATE,
PRODUCE AND
CONSUME SAFE
AND HEALTHY
FOODS WHILE
PRESERVING
Cover photo: Azerbaijan - Vandam village, fresh fruit is displayed at a roadside OUR PLANET’S
RESOURCES.
produce stand. ©FAO/Tofik Babayev

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GUATEMALA
Fruit and vegetables stall at the
green market
©Pep Bonet/NOOR for FAO

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

INTRODUCTION
Today’s global
challenges are
transforming the way
we produce, market,
consume and think
about food.

Ready access to safe and nutritious


food is a basic human right. ITALY
Yet every year around the world, Associations farmers,
producing in Lazio region
over 420,000 people die and surrounding Rome, gather

EVERY YEAR some 600 million people – almost


one in ten – fall ill after eating
in weekly markets to sell
food products from the
short distribution chain.

AROUND contaminated food. In fact,


foodborne hazards are known to
©FAO/Riccardo De Luca

THE WORLD, cause over 200 acute and chronic


diseases from digestive tract
OVER 420,000 infections to cancer. cause an enormous burden on

PEOPLE DIE
economies from disruptions or
The ramifications of the cost restrictions in global and regional

AND SOME of unsafe food, however, go


far beyond human suffering.
agri-food trade, loss of food and
associated income and wasted

600 MILLION Contaminated food hampers


socioeconomic development,
natural resources.

PEOPLE FALL ILL overloads healthcare systems and


compromises economic growth,
Today’s global challenges are
transforming the way we produce,
AFTER EATING trade and tourism. Opportunities
of an increasingly-globalized food
market, consume and think
about food. The most pressing
CONTAMINATED market are lost to countries unable challenges revolve around a

FOOD
to meet international food safety growing population and increased
standards. Food safety threats food demands compounded by the

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adverse impacts of environmental Our cities are changing, take on even greater importance in
degradation, climate change, water transforming our food systems. strategic discussions on sustainable
scarcity, and loss of biodiversity, With rapid urbanization, cities need development and growth.
conflict and socio-economic to keep food safety and sustainable
inequities. Hunger is on the food systems planning high on No matter how much our
rise and preventable foodborne their agenda. Today, half of the world continues to evolve and
diseases continue to affect millions world’s population lives within challenge us, the greatest danger
annually. Food safety issues further three hours of a small city and is that we fail to protect and
hinder global food security and town or on only three percent of safeguard our food systems.
our collective goal of achieving the Earth’s surface. By 2050, this It is paramount that we find
the Sustainable Development number is expected to increase sustainable ways to cultivate,
Goals by 2030, and exacerbates the to 60 percent. This means that produce and consume safe and
poverty cycle affecting the most the issues of food safety, food healthy foods while preserving
vulnerable populations. production and distribution will our planet’s resources.

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

KEY
MESSAGES
Food safety is an NIGER
A fruit vendor at the
integral part of Maradi market.
©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
the Sustainable
Development Goals.
When food is not safe, human
development simply cannot
take place. In its plan of
action for people, planet and
prosperity, the 2030 Agenda
calls for everyone, in particular
the poor and vulnerable, to
have access to safe, nutritious
and sufficient food all year
round. It pledges to ensure Agriculture is under
healthy lives and promote pressure, and food
well-being, which are essential
to sustainable development. production is changing
with consequences for
Unsafe food takes a food safety.
huge toll on human
In a world of accelerating
health and the economy. change, the need for food to be
Every year more than 600 safe remains a constant. As the
million people fall ill and world is facing an unprecedented From production to
420 000 die from eating convergence of pressures from consumption - food
food contaminated with socio-economic, environmental
bacteria, viruses, parasites, and political fronts, a shift towards safety is a shared
toxins or chemicals. sustainable agricultural practices responsibility.
Unsafe food accounted for across all sectors and the whole
33 million disability-adjusted supply chain is required to ensure Food safety is everyone’s
life years in 2010. As for the a viable, sufficient and nutritious responsibility. Today, food is
economic price tag, unsafe food supply of safe food. Such a change produced and processed in
costs low-and middle-income must minimize environmental greater volumes and distributed
economies alone about US$ impacts, mitigate climate change, over greater distances than ever
95 billion in lost productivity and promote economic growth and before. Widespread collaboration
annually and can curtail trade. social equity. and contributions of all actors

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THERE IS NO
FOOD SECURITY
WITHOUT FOOD
SAFETY, WHICH IS
THE BASE FOR
HEALTHY DIETS
AND LIVES
José Graziano da Silva
FAO Director-General

across the food supply chain, consumption and can lead to


underpinned by robust governance, long-term developmental delays
agreed international standards in children. Poor nutrition
and harmonized regulations, are makes people more susceptible
essential to food safety. to diseases. It is a vicious
cycle that must be broken.
Sustainable Development
Good nutrition requires Goal 2, which is about ending
hunger, achieving food security,
safe food. improving nutrition and
Unsafe food prevents the promoting sustainable agriculture,
suitable uptake of nutrients and can only be achieved when food is
renders it unsuitable for human safe for people to eat.

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY IS
FOOD SECURITY
If it is not safe, it is not food. Food security is
achieved when all people, at all times, have
physical and economic access to food that meets
their dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
Food safety plays a critical role across the four
dimensions of food security – availability, access,
utilization and stability.

The increased globalization of higher volumes of imported


the world’s food supply means foods, together with the
COSTA RICA
populations worldwide are diversification of origin and
Farmers working in a
more exposed to food hazards. growing complexity of the pineapple plantation,
This is of particular concern for technologies used for traditional applying good
agricultural practices
countries that rely heavily on monitoring approaches, based throughout the
food imports. on intermittent or irregular production process
inspections at borders, is no and packaging
of pineapple.
Many developing countries longer considered adequate. ©FAO/Ezequiel
import a significant share of the Becerra
good supply for their population. Therefore, a specific challenge
Some – such as the Pacific islands for imported food is that
– rely almost entirely on food competent authorities in charge Regardless of where the food
imports to ensure food security. of official controls have no direct is produced, consumers have
oversight over the production the right to expect that the
Coordinated inspection and process of their trading partners. food they buy is safe and of the
monitoring programmes lie With the development of trading expected quality. FAO works with
at the heart of enforcing food relationships, increased dialogue governmental authorities, with
safety regulatory systems between competent authorities local industry and other relevant
to prevent or minimise of importing and exporting stakeholders to ensure that this
exposure to food hazards. countries, use of certification expectation is met.
Importing countries have mechanisms and improved
progressively set up inspection oversight of the importers SAFE FOOD ENHANCES
measures, in order to protect community are some of the LIVELIHOODS AND BOOSTS
the health of their populations available options to strengthen TRADE OPPORTUNITIES.
and ensure fair practices in the effectiveness of imported Chemical residues and
food trade. However, over time, food controls. microbiological contamination

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continue to pose public their livelihood and foster economic
health risks and lead to trade development in rural communities.
disruptions with substantial
economic and social costs. PROTECTING HEALTH,
Opportunities of the global FACILITATING TRADE
food market are lost to Codex Alimentarius
countries that are unable Consumer protection has existed
to meet international food since ancient times. The Assyrians
THERE IS NO safety standards. determined weights and
measurements for cereals, the
FOOD SECURITY In addition, at the local level,
farmers and producers who meet
Egyptians used scrolls as labels
for certain foods, the Greeks
WITHOUT consumers’ growing demands for inspected beer and wine to ensure

FOOD SAFETY
more sustainably-produced foods it was in good condition, and the
have the opportunity to improve Romans had a State system

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY IS
FOOD SECURITY

to prevent fraud and root out SWAZILAND


poor-quality products. Red cabbage growing
in an orchard field
which is sold at a
Today, protecting the health of wholesale market that
consumers ranges from inspecting was established to
facilitate access to
food additives and pesticide
market opportunities
residues to preventing chemical for smallholder
and microbiological contamination producers and link
them with buyers.
or assessing the safety of
©FAO/Believe
modern, at times controversial, Nyakudjara
practices such as genetically
modifying foods or using growth
CODEX HAS promoting antimicrobials in
animal production. While times
WORKED ON have changed the goal to protect

FOOD SAFETY
consumers remains the same.

AND TRADE FOR The Joint FAO/WHO Food


Standards Programme
OVER 50 YEARS. implemented by the Codex
Alimentarius Commission is an
SINCE 1963, international inter-governmental
food standards setting body.
CODEX HAS Its standards are published
as the Codex Alimentarius.
DEVELOPED This “food code” covers the

HUNDREDS OF
entire production chain, allowing
governments to establish hundreds of internationally

INTERNATIONALLY science-based, internationally


acceptable standards in order
recognized standards, guidelines
and codes of practice. It has been
RECOGNIZED to establish criteria for food to
ensure safety and harmonize
recognized by the World Trade
Organization since 1995 as the
STANDARDS, trade food, taking into
account emerging challenges
benchmark standards for national
food safety regulations and the
GUIDELINES and opportunities. basis for international food trade –
they are science-based standards,
AND CODES Codex has worked on food safety adopted through global consensus.

OF PRACTICE
and trade for over 50 years. The Codex Alimentarius is made
Since 1963, Codex has developed up of over 300 texts that range

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from general to specific standards food is safe to eat regardless of the safe and of the expected quality.
and include a vast number of borders that it has crossed.   Each year, the impact of unsafe
numerical limits for additives, food causes production loses of
contaminants, pesticides residues INVESTING IN SUSTAINABLE FOOD around USD 95 billion in low-
and veterinary drugs. SYSTEMS PAYS OFF. and middle-income economies.
Sustainable food systems are the Safe food production improves
Codex is, therefore, the invisible future of food and agriculture. sustainability by reducing food
link between those working in FAO supports governmental waste and by enabling market
the food chain and the consumer. authorities, local industry and all access and productivity, which
The Codex Alimentarius is vital for those in supply chains to ensure drives economic development and
governments, industries and other that the food available on domestic poverty alleviation, especially in
actors in helping to ensure that and international markets is rural areas.

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY IS
SCIENCE-CENTRED
Science-based STRATEGY AND SCIENCE:
decision-making FAO’S FOOD SAFETY APPROACH
FAO works closely with its
increases public Members and international
health and protects food safety experts to provide
guidance for developing and
trade. Risk assessment emerging countries so that “the
provides policy best available evidence” is used
to inform food safety decisions.
makers with the This guidance is tailored to
information and specific country needs, especially
those that may be data poor or
evidence they have less mature control systems
need for effective and are keen to promote highly
participative approaches to foster
and transparent ownership of the process and ZIMBABWE
decision-making, results. The availability of agreed Strengthening controls
decision-making tools facilitates of food safety threats,
contributing to better an inclusive and transparent plant and animal
pests and diseases for
food safety outcomes process for food safety decisions, Agricultural
based on a broad set of factors productivity and trade
and improvements in rather than a single consideration.
in Southern Africa.
©FAO/Jekesai
public health. FAO and Njikizana
Making sound strategic decisions
WHO expert scientific is the primary responsibility of
bodies provide the food safety risk managers, who
must weigh multiple criteria evidence to prioritize to food
most robust and and sometimes complex risk safety in their countries. Also in
up-to-date scientific interactions. Decisions often determining appropriate action,
require balancing food safety decision-makers often need to
advice available. priorities with resources, following consider the consequences relating
multiple policy recommendations to more than one risk factor, for
and selecting the most appropriate example, the multiple impacts on
intervention to minimise risks. public health, trade, food access
To be effective in building strong and security.
food safety programmes, food
safety risk managers need to Science is central to the work of
influence high-level decisions FAO on food safety and quality
based on best available data and along the supply chain. In close

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collaboration with WHO, FAO pathogens. In developing high
provides neutral and independent quality globally relevant scientific
scientific advice as the essential advice, consideration is given
basis for the international food to the entire food production
safety standards, guidelines and chain as appropriate as well as all
codes of practice established relevant and accessible data and
by the Codex Alimentarius regular updates are made to the
Commission, and for supporting methods and approaches used to
the development of modern
food control systems by national
ensure consistency with the most
recent developments. Better data
SAFE FOOD IS
authorities such as whole genome is needed to understand the UNDERPINNED
BY SCIENCE
sequencing for epidemiological far-reaching impacts of
surveillance for foodborne unsafe food.

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY IS
SCIENCE-CENTRED

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert The Joint FAO/WHO Expert


Committee on Food Additives Meetings on Microbiological
(JECFA) has been meeting since Risk Assessment (JEMRA)
1956 to provide scientific advice began in 2000 as an international
on food additives, contaminants scientific expert group that
and residues of veterinary drugs evaluates different aspects of
in food as well as principles and microbiological hazards in the
guidance for safety assessment of food supply.
chemicals in food.
The Joint Meeting on
Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
is an expert ad hoc body
administered jointly by FAO
and WHO to harmonize
the requirements and risk
assessment on pesticide
residues. The JMPR has met
annually since 1963 to conduct
scientific evaluations of pesticide
residues in food, providing
advice on the acceptable levels
of pesticide residues in food
traded internationally.

Joint FAO/WHO Expert


Meetings on Nutrition

SCIENCE IS
(JEMNU) was established in
2010 to strengthen the role of

CENTRAL TO THE FAO and WHO in providing


scientific advice on nutrition

WORK OF FAO to Member States and bodies


such as the Codex Alimentarius
ON FOOD SAFETY Commission and in particular the
Codex Committee for Nutrition
AND QUALITY and Foods for Special Dietary
Uses (CCNFSDU) with a view to
ALONG THE set appropriate health-protective

SUPPLY CHAIN
and trade-inclusive global
nutrition standards.

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SENEGAL
Inspecting melons
using a magnifier in a
cold room storage.
©FAO/Marco Longari

CORE
PRINCIPLES
FOR SCIENTIFIC
ADVICE
• Soundness:
scientific excellence,
evidence-based, rigorous
and repeatable
• Responsibility:
accountability, safeguarding
the integrity of the process
• Objectivity:
includes neutrality of the
experts and of the advice
provided
• Fairness:
of the process, and respect
for all participants and their
scientific views
• Transparency:
of both the process and the
scientific advice
• Inclusiveness:
balance of skills and
expertise, minority scientific
opinion, geographical and
socioeconomic balance
without compromising
excellence

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY REQUIRES


SHARED SOLUTIONS
Human health is FAO promotes a “One Health” Practices and ensure compliance
closely interlinked approach as an integrated way of with national and international
preventing and mitigating health food safety requirements.
with the health threats across the Animal-Human-
of animals and Plant-Environment interface. Food safety and produce
This is clearly demonstrated by FAO teams made up of Food Safety
the environment transmission of microorganisms and Plant Production specialists
around us. to people through food—from work with national institutions
fruits and vegetables contaminated to develop guidelines/codes of
with soil and from animal- practice that integrate food safety
sourced foods. Thus, FAO considerations into sustainable
promotes practices that decrease agricultural practices.
the likelihood of live animals Long-term impact is ensured
carrying pathogens transmissible through capacity building
to people and prevent the activities with local, national and
transfer of contaminants from regional partners.
the environment to foods. These
are important and effective “One Selected examples:
Health” approaches to reduce ➨➨Mycotoxin can affect staple
human illnesses. foods such as maize and sorghum
and high value commodities
FOOD SAFETY AND PRODUCE, such as coffee and cocoa with
LIVESTOCK AND FISH important consequent food
FAO combines expertise in security implications for poor
sustainable food production and vulnerable populations.
across the agricultural sectors and These toxins are implicated in
food safety disciplines to identify a wide range of health effects
sources of food safety risk and that include liver and kidney
to develop measures to prevent damage, among others. FAO and
or minimize these risks at the WHO produced a user-friendly
most appropriate stages of the and freely-available online tool
chain. Working with concerned to guide national authorities
stakeholders at national and and operators to sample
local levels from both public and 26 mycotoxin-commodity
FOOD SAFETY private sectors, FAO helps to
strengthen the management of
combinations.
➨➨Farmer Field Schools (FFS)
IS PART OF food safety in specific sectors and have proved to be an effective

“ONE HEALTH”
formulate strategies that promote vehicle for enabling farmers
the application of Good Hygienic to understand and adhere

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MYANMAR
Supporting
conflict-affected
communities in
northern Rakhine.
©FAO/Hkun Lat

to good practices. FFS are Food safety and livestock Food producers play a vital
developed to fully integrate food Improving the safety of foods of role in stopping the spread
hygiene with production animal origin involves guidance of antimicrobial resistance.
issues such as integrated pest on good practices in animal Antimicrobial drugs are essential
management techniques. feeding, animal husbandry, to protect both human and animal
➨➨FAO works with national slaughter and handling and health. However, antimicrobials,
institutions to build their processing of animal products. if misused in the livestock,
capacities to design and implement FAO experts from animal aquaculture or crop production
programmes to improve food production, animal health and sectors, can contribute to
safety in the primary production of food safety unit work together antimicrobial resistance (AMR) –
fruit and vegetables. This includes to ensure a science-based and one of the world’s most pressing
programmes focusing on good integrated approach to managing public health threats. AMR causes
practices on farm as well as food safety risks related to foods a reduction in the effectiveness
on monitoring pesticide and of animal origin, including of medicines, making infections
other contaminants. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). and diseases difficult or

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY REQUIRES


SHARED SOLUTIONS

impossible to treat in animals, aquaculture: fishers, fish farmers,


plants and humans alike. fish handlers and processors.
Each year, an estimated 700,000 FAO uses participatory approaches
people die around the globe to assess training needs and
because of antimicrobial-resistant to design and implement
infections, with the largest toll programmes for longterm
is in low- and middle-income capacity building.
countries. Good hygiene practices
in agriculture, food production, For example, Scombrotoxin Fish
processing and distribution are Poisoning (SFP) often called
required to maintain food safety ‘histamine poisoning’ occurs
and minimize the transmission when certain species of marine
of AMR through the food fish – including tuna, mackerel,
chain to people. If antibiotics sardines and anchovy – are stored
are not used appropriately, improperly, a naturally-occurring collective wisdom has been
antimicrobial residues in food amino acid of the fish is converted accumulated over more than 40
can also pose health hazards to histamine by bacterial years of engagement with different
to consumers. FAO encourages contaminants. In some parts of legal traditions around the world.
food production practices that the world, SFP is a major cause of FAO can assist in promoting
reduce the use of antimicrobials; food-borne illness. the design of workable and
enhance food hygiene and appropriate national regulatory
sanitation during processing WRITING THE RULES: frameworks in all areas under
to limit cross-contamination; NATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORKS FAO’s mandate, as well as
and monitor progress in Modern food legislation is a key provide assistance through legal
producing food that is free from pillar for an effective food control and institutional assessments;
antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. system. In all countries, food is support to a participatory legal
governed by a complexity of laws reform processes; preparation
Food safety and fish and and regulations which set out the of draft laws; and capacity
fishery products government’s requirements to development activities for lawyers
Improving the quality and be met by food chain operators and regulators. Such capacity
safety of fish products requires to ensure the food is safe and of development helps countries
interventions at various stages of adequate quality. to improve their abilities
the value chain. Many countries to autonomously formulate
call on FAO fisheries and FAO has a unique reservoir of appropriate legislation.
food safety experts to assist in knowledge and information to
developing the capacities for fish assist countries in drafting or Assistance is tailored to each
inspection and for promoting amending legislation relevant country’s situation, with attention
the application of good practices to food safety and quality. to the national legal framework
by all operators in fisheries and This invaluable resource and and tradition, as well as to the

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EGYPT
Promoting and
developing national
potential on effective
sustainable
non-conventional
water use practices for
integrated agriculture-
aquaculture
production systems.
©FAO/Khaled
Desouki

implementation of applicable been running since 1995. It is


international agreements and continuously updated, with an
international reference standards. average of 8 000 new entries per
To date, FAO has assisted a year. It currently contains legal
broad range of countries and and policy documents drawn
regional organizations across from more than 200 countries,
five continents in revising territories and regional economic
their legislation.  integration organizations and
originating in over 40 languages.
FAO also has the world’s largest
legislative database (FAOLEX) on Governance enables safe and
food and agriculture, including nutritious food for all.
natural resources management National governance is critical
(fisheries, land, water and for ensuring that we all can
forestry), and provides legal
information by publishing
eat safe and nutritious food.
FAO is supporting governments MODERN FOOD
legislative studies and legal
papers online, including good
in transitioning the food control
systems into governance LEGISLATION IS A
regulatory practices (GRPs) for
drafting or revising national legal
mechanisms that foster
agriculture, the production of
KEY PILLAR FOR
frameworks. These publications
cover different SPS-related
safe and nutritious foods and the
access to global trade. An enabling
AN EFFECTIVE
topics, not only food safety, but governance at national level FOOD CONTROL
SYSTEM
also animal and plant health is critical to end hunger and
and biosafety. FAOLEX has alleviate poverty.

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY
IN EMERGENCIES
International
emergency response
systems ensure
coordinated action
when combatting
outbreaks of
foodborne illness
globally. FAO jointly
with WHO leads
global information
and prevention
networks involving
national food safety
MOLDOVA
authorities and experts Biochemical
to prevent, prepare for examination for
diagnosis of bacterial
diseases
and respond to food (salmonellosis,
colibacillosis).
safety emergencies. ©FAO/Dorin Goian

FAO assists countries in building (INFOSAN). Operating in its 15th


food safety emergencies year, INFOSAN has facilitated
prevention and management communication across borders,
systems to strengthen country and between network members,
resilience to food chain crises. during hundreds of food safety
FOOD SAFETY In order to promote and
emergencies. In such instances,
INFOSAN, a practical and reliable
EMERGENCY facilitate the rapid exchange of
information during food safety
tool for information exchange, can
can mitigate and reduce impacts
PREPAREDNESS related events, FAO and WHO of a food crisis by allowing risk

SAVES LIVES
coordinate the International managers to prevent foodborne
Food Safety Authorities Network illness and save lives by launching

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targeted product recalls and 80 countries; and an outbreak of Emergency Contact Points in
consumer warnings. listeriosis linked to ready-to-eat importing countries of the details
meat products produced in of the affected products to stop
A number of recent events have South Africa and exported to distribution. INFOSAN thus
highlighted the important role this 15 countries. During both of relies on proactive participation
network plays to support national these events, national INFOSAN of members around the world
response activities. For example, Emergency Contact Points to implement appropriate risk
two such events started in 2017 provided key information such management measures.
and continued into 2018: an as destination countries of
outbreak of salmonellosis linked contaminated products to the Today, INFOSAN connects
to infant formula produced in INFOSAN Secretariat, which, nearly 600 members from 188
France and exported to more than in turn, notified INFOSAN Member States together and its

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY

FOOD SAFETY
IN EMERGENCIES

membership continues to grow MALI


each year. Commitment to active Street vendors selling
participation in INFOSAN is watermelons in Bla.
©FAO/Swiatoslaw
one important way in which Wojtkowiak
national government agencies
can demonstrate their dedication
to improving food safety as a
global good.

IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTION OF
FOODBORNE OUTBREAKS
The shift in food safety from
‘reaction and response’ to
‘prediction and prevention’
requires holistic and structured
approaches to collecting and
analysing intelligence for early
identification of emerging
issues. FAO works with different It is difficult to estimate the burden allow authorities to better
partners and Member Countries of foodborne diseases: only a small understand major food safety risks
to develop such intelligence fraction is recognised by concerned and to refocus prevention efforts.
and foresight to inform broad authorities. The ultimate goal It also allows early detection of
food chain decisions and of food safety and public health adverse food safety events and
provide guidance on key officials is to prevent such prompt and effective response.
emerging issues. outbreaks. Surveillance systems FAO collaborates with WHO in
a number of activities aimed at
prevention and management of
food safety emergencies.
INCREASE UNDERSTANDING
OF DECISIONS TO ASSESS SUPPORT AND MANAGE RAISING AWARENESS TO ARM
FOOD SAFETY HAZARDS ASSOCIATED RISKS
CONSUMERS
Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses
and food recalls can have
wide-reaching consequences and
impact on consumer confidence
ENABLE PEOPLE TO COMMUNICATE in the safety of the food supply.
MAKE MORE INFORMED RISKS AND ENGAGE This calls for enhanced food
JUDGMENTS COMMUNITY safety risk communication
with consumers among all

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stakeholders in the agri-food Mali and FAO launched a
chain, beginning with risk
managers and decision-makers.
two-year capacity development
programme targeting a FAO WORKS
This two-way exchange of
information and opinions
broad range of stakeholders.
Competent authorities, starting
WITH DIFFERENT
between all involved is key
in restoring confidence and
with the national food-safety
authority laboratories,
PARTNERS AND
protecting people’s quality of life. private-sector actors, including MEMBER
COUNTRIES TO
primary producers, consumers’
For example, Mali is a country representatives, to research
that sought to improve its
decision-making approach
institutions, academia, and civil
society representatives were DEVELOP FOOD
to food-safety by adopting
a risk analysis framework.
trained on how to use their
national data to prioritize risks SAFETY
Already having access to relevant
food analysis and consumption
and optimize the management
of those risks. As a result, Mali is
INTELLIGENCE
data, the food-safety authorities
sought FAO’s advice about
now able to build monitoring and
control programmes for domestic
AND FORESIGHT
how to use the data to guide and imported foods based on FOR BETTER
PREPAREDNESS
strategic choices and day-to-day a practical understanding of
food control activities. In 2014, risk analysis.

23
THE FUTURE
OF FOOD
SAFETY
First FAO/WHO/AU International
Food Safety Conference 
Addis, 12-13 February

This brochure presents FAO’s work on food safety FAO recognizes that the ramifications of the cost
and the recognition that ready access to safe and of unsafe food go far beyond human suffering.
nutritious food is a basic human right. Food security FAO works with governmental authorities, with
is achieved when all people, at all times, have physical local industry and other relevant stakeholders
and economic access to food that meets their dietary to ensure that regardless of where the food
needs for an active and healthy life. Food safety plays is produced, consumers have the right to
a critical role across the four dimensions of food expect that the food they buy is safe and of
security – availability, access, utilization and stability. the expected quality. This brochure includes
CA3247EN/1/02.19

examples of FAO’s work, and the importance


It is paramount that we find sustainable ways to of science-based decision-making and
cultivate, produce and consume safe and healthy working together to build the world we want –
foods while preserving our planet’s resources. a Zero hunger world.
©FAO, 2019

www.fao.org