World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Working with Asian countries to improve information-sharing

WHO and FAO News Release

Working with Asian countries to improve information-sharing in food safety emergencies

SEOUL, 27 November 2012—The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are working with Asian countries to develop a strategy to make better use of a global food safety network.

Increased participation in the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) would help countries to better manage food safety emergencies, reducing the health risk to consumers and increasing the availability of safe food.

“With increasing levels of international travel and trade, foodborne disease outbreaks and food contamination events that once only affected local communities can now quickly become global health threats," says Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “I urge all countries to do more to ensure food safety.”

Food safety officers from 12 Asian countries will meet today through Thursday in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to discuss ways to enhance participation in INFOSAN and the implementation of the food safety programmes, including the FAO–WHO strategy. Discussions will focus on better ways to share data, resources and expertise as well as how to build capacities at national level to better respond to food safety emergencies.

“Because the dangers are shared, the solutions must be shared as well," says Dr Angelika Tritscher, Acting Director of the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses. "INFOSAN provides the platform for that kind of sharing.”

Using the information available through INFOSAN, governments can take rapid action to protect and inform people.

Unsafe food can cause many acute and chronic diseases, such as diarrhoea and cancer. Foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases kill 2.2 million people annually, 1.9 million of them children, according to WHO estimates.

Recent examples of foodborne outbreaks and contamination of food in Asia include: melamine contamination of infant formula and related dairy products; ebola reston virus in pigs; excessive iodine in soy milk; fish poisoning; hepatitis A associated with semi-dried tomatoes; pesticide-residue poisonings; clenbuterol in pork; and radionuclides in food.

Countries have been strengthening their national food control systems based on frameworks developed by WHO and FAO. The frameworks include steps to improve food safety policies and coordination among agencies in charge of food safety and to develop evidence-based legislation, risk-based food inspection services and more reliable consumer information.

However, even the most advanced food safety systems are vulnerable to foodborne outbreaks. “An essential element of dealing with emergencies is to be as prepared as possible and ensure procedures are in place to facilitate information sharing among and between national authorities and the private sector and through regional collaboration and networks,” says Jean Michel Poirson, Senior FAO Food Safety Officer.

“We are proud to support this process and facilitate the collaboration of our counterparts across the region,” said Dr Hee-Sung Lee, commissioner of the Korea Food and Drug Administration.

INFOSAN
INFOSAN is a joint FAO–WHO programme: to promote the rapid exchange of information during food safety-related events; to share information on important food safety-related issues of global interest; to promote partnership and collaboration among countries; and to help countries strengthen their capacity to manage food safety risks.

Established in 2004, INFOSAN is a network of 178 countries, each with an emergency contact for food safety emergencies, as well as focal points in national agencies with a stake in food safety.

INFOSAN - http://www.who.int/foodsafety/fs_management/infosan/en/
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific food safety information - http://www.wpro.who.int/foodsafety/en/index.html
WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia food safety information –
http://www.searo.who.int/EN/Section23/Section1001.htm
FAO food safety information - http://www.fao.org/food/food-safety-quality/empres-food-safety/en/

Food safety video message: http://www2.wpro.who.int/internet/files/videos/who_fos_adirector_message.html


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news