Initiative to estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases
Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group
The Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) is composed of internationally renowned experts in a broad range of disciplines relevant to global foodborne disease epidemiology. Members were appointed by the WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, following a transparent selection process. A complete list of FERG Members, technical and resource advisers can be accessed here.
The expert group is charged to:
- assemble, appraise and report on the current, the projected as well as the averted burden of foodborne disease estimates;
- conduct epidemiological reviews for mortality, morbidity and disability in each of the major foodborne diseases;
- provide models for the estimation of FBD burden where data are lacking;
- develop cause attribution models to estimate the proportion of diseases that are foodborne; and, most importantly
- use the FERG models to develop user-friendly tools for burden of foodborne disease studies at country level.
To estimate the global human health burden (expressed in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), FERG will initially focus on microbial, parasitic, zoonotic and chemical contamination of food with an emphasis:
- on diseases whose incidence and severity is thought to be high.
- on pathogens and chemicals that are most likely to contaminate food and which have a high degree of preventability.
Structure and Composition of FERG
FERG consists of a Core (or Steering) Group to coordinate and oversee the scientific work, four different Thematic Task Forces advancing the work in specific areas as shown in the figure below; and external resource and technical advisers who are invited on an ad hoc basis to provide specific expertise.