Food safety

Food Safety News No 38


A guide on safe food for travellers specially prepared for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup

Food Safety News
No 38 - 8 July 2010

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

In this issue:

  • New WHO Food Safety Action
    • "To strengthen the emergency function of the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) as a critical component of WHO’s preventive and emergency operations..."
    • "To develop INFOSAN… and establish an international initiative for collaboration of laboratory partners in support of surveillance for foodborne diseases, food contamination… including mechanisms for data sharing"
    • "To continue to provide global leadership… for the scientific estimations of… foodborne disease burden from all causes"
    • "To develop guidance on the public health aspects arising from zoonotic diseases that originate at the human-animal interface… prevention, detection and response"
    • "To provide adequate and sustainable support for the joint expert bodies of FAO and WHO, the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the INFOSAN... to support the development of international food standards that protect health… and communicate more effectively on food safety issues at the national and international levels"

The WHO top governing body, the World Health Assembly, approved in May 2010 a new Resolution 'Advancing Food safety Initiatives' (http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA63/A63_R3-en.pdf[pdf 10 kb]), recognizing the need to do more in this area. In the resolution the WHO Member States requested action from the Director-General, WHO, in a number of areas, five of which are briefly outlined here:

1. "To strengthen the emergency function of the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) as a critical component of WHO’s preventive and emergency operations..."
INFOSAN Emergency Contact Points will meet for the first time in Abu Dhabi in December 2010 to discuss, among other issues, the challenges of identifying and assessing the risks of emerging food-related hazards of global importance and identify ways to improve interaction between network members to share best practices in food safety. Invitations will be sent to participants in the coming weeks. Further information will be soon posted on the INFOSAN web site at: www.who.int/foodsafety/fs_management/infosan/en

2. "To develop INFOSAN… and establish an international initiative for collaboration of laboratory partners in support of surveillance for foodborne diseases, food contamination… including mechanisms for data sharing"
WHO/FOS has thus initiated work to link INFOSAN and existing microbiological and chemical laboratory networks.
Contact for INFOSAN: Andrea Ellis (Tel: +41 22 791 1676 - E-mail: ellisa@who.int)

3. "To continue to provide global leadership… for the scientific estimations of… foodborne disease burden from all causes"
WHO/FOS continues the work of the Foodborne Disease Epidemiological Reference Group (FERG) with a view of preparing a global atlas over the foodborne disease burden in 2012-13. More information on the WHO Initiative to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases is available at: www.who.int/foodsafety/foodborne_disease/en/
Contact: Claudia Stein (Tel: +41 22 791 3234 - E-mail: steinc@who.int)

4. "To develop guidance on the public health aspects arising from zoonotic diseases that originate at the human-animal interface… prevention, detection and response"
WHO has initiated new work developing strategic guidance on zoonoses. In collaboration with FAO and OIE, WHO/FOS has initiated work on global zoonoses guidelines. More information is available at: www.who.int/foodsafety/zoonoses/en/.
Contact: Bernadette Abela (Tel: +41 22 791 2072 - E-mail: abelab@who.int)

5. "To provide adequate and sustainable support for the joint expert bodies of FAO and WHO, the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the INFOSAN... to support the development of international food standards that protect health… and communicate more effectively on food safety issues at the national and international levels"
WHO/FOS in collaboration with FAO continues to advocate tangible support from Member States for the provision of global scientific advice to the benefit of Member States and the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission. The joint FAO/WHO Global Initiative for Food-related Scientific Advice (GIFSA) was established to further develop activities in the provision of scientific advice. More information on GIFSA is available at: www.who.int/foodsafety/codex/gifssa/en.
Contact: Jørgen Schlundt (Tel: 41 22 791 3445 - E-mail: schlundtj@who.int)

The Resolution requested Member States "to continue to develop and maintain sustainable preventive measures, including food safety-education programmes aimed at reducing the burden of foodborne diseases…"

In order to assist Member States, WHO/FOS has started to expand the Five Keys to Safer Food educational framework across the farm to fork continuum. WHO also has recently supported the important initiatives taken by the Department of Health of South Africa to ensure the prevention of foodborne diseases at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

South Africa adopted the Five Keys to Safer Food to both train the food handlers (through the Five Keys Train the Trainer course) and initiate a nation-wide health promotion campaign to educate the consumers (through the Five Keys to Safer Food Poster). They adapted the WHO Guide on Safe Food for travellers and The 3 Fives (Five Keys to Safer Food, Five Keys to a healthy diet, Five Keys to appropriate physical activity).
Contact: Françoise Fontannaz (Tel: +41 22 791 3697 - E-mail: fontannazf@who.int)

Read more about the 2010-2011 directions of the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses (FOS) activities at: www.who.int/foodsafety/about/en.
Contact: Jørgen Schlundt (Tel: + 41 22 791 3445 – E-mail: schlundtj@who.int)

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