Food safety

Food Safety News No 31


Fruit and vegetables

Food Safety News
No 31 - 15 October 2008


Issued by the Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases
World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/foodsafety
foodsafety@who.int

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • A melamine-contamination event in China
  • Call for experts and data: WHO Expert Meeting to review toxicological aspects of melamine and cyanuric acid
  • Obligations to report outbreaks of foodborne diseases under the IHR (2005)
  • Submission of applications to the Codex Trust Fund
  • Second meeting of the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), 17-21 November 2008, including a major Food Safety Stakeholder Meeting, 20 November 2008, Geneva
  • Call for advisers: WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Call for data for the 2009 JMPR, to be held 16-25 September in Geneva
  • New publications available on the web

A melamine-contamination event in China

Since 11 September 2008 FOS has closely monitored the melamine contamination event in infant formula in China. Through efficient interaction with China's INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point in the Ministry of Health (MoH), INFOSAN has been updating Member States on this event. Five countries that had imported contaminated milk powder from China were specifically warned. A protected web site under INFOSAN is aimed at food safety authorities, supplemented by an additional web site for the general public, to keep all stakeholders continuously updated and informed. Additionally, WHO has drafted several documents in order to help Member States manage this food safety event. To date this incident has affected more than 54 000 infants and young children in China.
More information available at: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/fs_management/infosan_events/en
Contact: Jørgen Schlundt (Tel: + 41 22 791 3445 - E-mail: schlundtj@who.int)

Call for experts and data: WHO Expert Meeting to review toxicological aspects of melamine and cyanuric acid

While WHO has provided preliminary, interim scientific advice on melamine to Member States, there is now an urgent need to update and evaluate the current international knowledge base on this issue. An independent international scientific expert meeting has therefore been planned as part of WHO's emergency measures in this area. The meeting will take place the first week of December.
Deadline for submitting applications: 30 October 2008 – Deadline for submitting data: 15 November 2008
More information available at: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/fs_management/infosan_events/en
Contact: Jørgen Schlundt (Tel: + 41 22 791 3445 - E-mail: schlundtj@who.int)

Obligations to report outbreaks of foodborne diseases under the IHR (2005)

The journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases has published an article from Australia, which reviewed outbreaks in 2001-2007 that implicated internationally distributed foods. The authors found that 7 (50%) of 14 outbreaks would have required notification to WHO. The article is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/14/9/1440.htm. More information on INFOSAN Emergency and IHR (2005) is available in an INFOSAN Information Note: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/fs_management/infosan_archives/en (available in the six official WHO languages).
Contact: Jørgen Schlundt (Tel: + 41 22 791 3445 - E-mail: schlundtj@who.int)

Submission of applications to the Codex Trust Fund

The Codex Trust Fund is now accepting applications for support for developing countries and countries with economies in transition to participate in Codex meetings scheduled for 2009. Information concerning these applications and eligibility of countries can be found in the six WHO official languages on the Codex Trust Fund website at: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/codex/trustfund/en. All applications and queries must be sent by the official Codex Contact Point in the country to the Codex Trust Fund Secretariat using the Trust Fund e-mail (codextrustfund@who.int). Applications sent through other channels may fail to meet the deadline and will not be receivable.
Deadline for submitting applications: 31 October 2008.
Contact: Catherine Mulholland (Tel: +41 22 791 3080 - E-mail: mulhollandc@who.int)

Second meeting of the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), 17-21 November 2008, including a major Food Safety Stakeholder Meeting, 20 November 2008, Geneva

The expert group of the WHO Initiative to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases, the FERG, is meeting for the second time to assess and appraise its work of the last 12 months and to adopt new workplans. During the meeting, the WHO secretariat will also host a major Stakeholder Event on Thursday, 20 November, to which all key food safety stakeholders are invited, including governments, donors, industry, consumers and media.
More information at: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/foodborne_disease/ferg2/en/
Contact for the second FERG Meeting: Claudia Stein (Tel: +41 22 791 3234 - E-mail: steinc@who.int)
Contact for the Stakeholder Meeting: Tanja Kuchenmüller (Tel: +41 22 791 5095 - E-mail: kuchenmullert@who.int)

Call for advisers: WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance

FOS is in the process of establishing a WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (AGISAR) to assist WHO on surveillance and containment of food-related antimicrobial resistance (AMR), in support of harmonization of methods and information sharing among WHO Member countries.
Deadline for submitting applications: 30 October 2008
More information available at: http://www.who.int/foodborne_disease/resistance/agisar/en
Contact: Awa Aidara-Kane (Tel: +41 22 791 2403 - E-mail: aidarakanea@who.int)

Call for data for the 2009 JMPR, to be held 16-25 September in Geneva

Published and accessible from: http://www.who.int/ipcs/food/jmpr/data/en
Contact: Angelika Tritscher (Tel: +41 22 791 3569 - E-mail: tritschera@who.int)

New publications available on the web

Foodborne disease outbreaks: Guidelines for investigation and control: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/foodborne_disease/fdbmanual/en

Guidance for identifying populations at risk from Mercury Exposure: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/chem/mercury/en

Summary report of the 2008 JMPR, held 9-18 September: http://www.who.int/ipcs/food/jmpr/summaries/en

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