Food safety

Food Safety News No 43


Fruit and vegetable market
WHO/F. Fontannaz

Food Safety News
No 43 - 13 September 2011

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

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Strengthening the INFOSAN community
  • Sharing best practices in health promotion to strengthen capacity within countries
  • Promoting health by decreasing microbial contamination
  • Scientific advice on Bisphenol A
  • Codex Trust Fund - more support for those in need
  • New publication available on the web

Strengthening the INFOSAN community

The report of the first global meeting of the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 14-16 December 2010, is now available online at: First Global Meeting of INFOSAN.

One of the key recommendations from the meeting was to improve the password-protected INFOSAN website. It was suggested that by making the site more user-friendly, it would enhance participation and partnership among INFOSAN members and strengthen the community of practice. The INFOSAN Secretariat has since been working with IT contractors and in consultation with the INFOSAN Advisory Group to design and implement a new password-protected website for INFOSAN Members. The new "INFOSAN Community Website" will be launched this fall.

Contact for INFOSAN: Peter Ben Embarek - E-mail: benembarekp@who.int

Sharing best practices in health promotion to strengthen capacity within countries

Over 100 countries have reported to WHO using the Five keys to safer food message to train food handlers and educate consumers. Translated into 67 languages and initiated mainly by countries themselves, the WHO message became an international reference source to raise awareness and prevent foodborne diseases, including during emergencies (e.g. cholera outbreaks).

Countries have already benefited from the sharing of experiences and tested solutions to successfully develop educational programmes. WHO encourages countries to continue to share their experiences, materials and evaluations of such programmes, which can be posted not only on the WHO website of the Five Keys as a source of inspiration, but also on the forthcoming "INFOSAN Community Website" to stimulate discussions and networking opportunities.

Materials and links to national web sites should be sent to Françoise Fontannaz at fontannazf@who.int

Promoting health by decreasing microbial contamination

WHO is extending the Five keys to safer food concept to cover additional groups across the farm to table continuum to promote safe food handling practices. The manual Five keys to growing safer fruits and vegetables: promoting health by decreasing microbial contamination is designed to support food safety education of rural workers who grow fresh fruits and vegetables for themselves, their families and for sale in local markets.

The manual describes key practices and raises awareness of the links between the health of humans, animals and ecosystems and how failures in good hygienic practices in one sector can affect the others. More information on the project and the trial edition of the manual for field testing are available at: Five keys to growing safer fruits and vegetables.

WHO welcomes comments and feedback from countries which will be incorporated in the final edition.

Contact: Françoise Fontannaz - E-mail: fontannazf@who.int

Scientific advice on Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely used chemical in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, also used in food contact materials, leading to potential consumer exposure through food. Potential health impact of low level BPA exposure is very controversially debated, and WHO jointly with FAO held an expert meeting to review the state-of-the-science. The final report of this meeting, the stakeholder meeting pre-ceding the expert meeting, and additional detailed background papers have now been published at: Bisphenol A.

Contact: Angelika Tritscher - E-mail: tritschera@who.int

Codex Trust Fund - more support for those in need

At the 34th Codex Alimentarius Commission the Codex Trust Fund made proposals to respond to the recommendations of the Mid-term Review carried out in 2009-2010, including proposals for continued support to least developed countries, small island developing states and graduate countries unable to sustain participation in Codex. The decisions taken by Codex Member States are being implemented for the 2012 round of applications for support from the Trust Fund.

For more information, see the 34th Codex Alimentarius Commission Report[pdf] paragraphs 216-236, and the Codex Trust Fund website: Codex Trust Fund.

Contact: Catherine Mulholland - E-mail: codextrustfund@who.int

New publication available on the web

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