Unsafe food poses global health threats, endangering every country and its economy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year. New threats to food safety are constantly emerging: for example, changes in food production, distribution and consumption, environmental changes, new and emerging bacteria and toxins, antimicrobial resistance all contribute to increase the risk of food contamination. Moreover, globalization and international trades have increased the likelihood of spreading contaminations as well as augmented the diffusion area and the pace of food safety emergencies.
In this perspective, food safety is a rising hot topic in European and Chinese agendas as Western and Far East markets have become even more integrated, and food products, services and technologies are not an exception but one of the largest and most promising business.
Risks to food safety can arise throughout a global food chain, which is why many different actors must collaborate to ensure that the food on our plates is safe. Food safety is an issue that could benefit from open dialogue, knowledge sharing, collaboration and applying innovative technology.
With growing calls for safer food in both China and Europe, government regulators, scientists and industry should actively work at international level through how best to protect a “Sino-European consumer”.
International cooperation on harmonization of food regulations would increase the safety level of what we eat as well as facilitate trade between very different and distant countries and their internal areas. Moreover, many of the critical issues impacting food safety in a global world ensue from lack of access to high-level competences and new technology solutions.
To tackle these issues, the World Food R&I Forum has organized a bilateral event with Chinese and European experts in the framework of the cooperation agreement between the Guangdong Province (China) and the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy). The technical seminar serves as cooperation platform for Guangdong and Emilia-Romagna governments and their stakeholders and is designed to help setting priorities on food safety and to inspire cooperative projects with regard to the potential role of the New Silk Road, also called ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.
The seminar, organized in three closed door sessions, will offer keynote speeches and panel discussions with experts from institutions, academy and business from both sides, who will work together to identify the “most urgent areas” across the global agri-food value chain that could benefit from a bilateral Sino-Italian collaboration in food safety issues.