Food safety

Global Environment Monitoring System - Food Contamination Monitoring and Assessment Programme (GEMS/Food)

GEMS/Food Consumption areas

The GEMS/Food Regional Diets were developed initially by WHO in 1989 based on selected FAO Food Balance Sheets, to predict dietary exposure to radionuclide contamination in food following the Chernobyl accident. The GEMS/Food consumption areas were published in 2012 after the Fukushima accident based on the most detailed and recent data available from FAO i.e. Supply Utilization Account (SUA), 2002-2007.

After a nuclear accident, radionuclides released to the atmosphere may deposit onto both terrestrial and aquatic surfaces, for which different calculational methods are required. The exposure model used by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiations (UNSCEAR) to evaluate radiation doses is accounting for both atmospheric and aquatic release.

The consumption areas should be used when the contamination by air or water is likely to be different from one region to another. In that case, the vector of contamination is predominant over the type of food consumed. An example is the food contamination by air after a nuclear accident.