World Food Forum

“There can be no food security without food safety and to address these challenges we need innovation”
20 November 2015

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Ren_Wang400X300Ren Wang, Assistant Director-General of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

We all agree that there can be no food security without food safety. All stakeholders need to work together to strengthen food integrity, ensure food authenticity and guarantee food safety, so that we can all not only enjoy adequate access to food, but also be secure in our trust that it is safe and good for us.

Ensuring food safety is a process that involves a growing number of actors at every stage of our increasingly long global food supply chains. New challenges continue to emerge: new technologies continue to be developed to help make good quality, safe and nutritious food accessible where it is needed by the world’s growing population, increasingly concentrated in urban centres. To address these challenges we need innovation, needs driven innovations, integrated in the context of local development and livelihoods.

National and local production systems differ widely. Robust, science-based standards must be set and implemented at the national level, and understood and applied in every household. The international community has a major role to play in providing the best possible information, advice and guidance to national policymakers. Given the globalized nature of the food trade, the food standards we rely on require global legitimacy – developed and adopted by a recognized international body that works based on science, with transparency, inclusiveness, consensus building and collaboration. The Codex Alimentarius Commission was founded jointly by FAO and WHO in 1963 to carry out this work. This needs to be complemented by commitments from all actors involved in the food supply chain. The food supply chain is a place for responsibility, commitment and trust. Trust in our food, trust in our food supply chain, is indispensable for individuals and for sustaining strong societies. Private sector engagement is absolutely crucial.

Engagement with consumers is also crucial to achieve food safety. The best, most robust science-based guidance is worthless if it goes unimplemented. Every chain – be it a food supply chain or a knowledge chain – is only as strong as its weakest link.

What is at stake is the safety of our food as a foundation for the wellbeing of every human being.

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