The global threat of unsafe food and the key role of Food safety agencies
10 september 2015
Every year hundreds of millions of people get sick worlwide from eating contaminated food. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that this global threat contributed to 351.000 deaths in 2010, the latest data available.
During the past 100 years huge progresses have been made in food safety, but since globalization is making the world increasingly inter-linked and inter-dependent the processes necessary to get food from the farm to the dining table are extending. As a consequence, even the opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals have risen to a new level.
That’s why Food safety agencies play a key role on a global level, and why nowadays their activity is more important than ever. These internationally recognized organizations work to assess all the risks accociated with the food chain, to give to risk managers advices and information on how to prevent contamination, to answer requests for scientific assessments from single States, Federations of States, Parliaments and Institutions.
But agencies dealing with food safety, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – FDA, the European Food Safety Authority – EFSA, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO and the World Health Organization – WHO, which will all take part in the World Food Research and Innovation Forum, have an impact on a much broader range of issues.
Their independent advice is essential to give solid scientific foundations to legislation adopted by Governments on food, to approve or ban regulated substances such as pesticides and food additives, to develope new regulatory frameworks and policies in the field of nutrition. Their communications on risks contribute to improving food safety and to building public confidence in the way risk is assessed.
That’s why their contribution to the World Food Research and Innovation Forum is so important. Because sharing independent scientific information and best practices with the international institutional system, with national and international global food policy makers, global food companies, leaders in the food sector and international consumer groups is essential to elaborate a new way to meet the “Feeding the planet” challenge.