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

 

Tel Aviv: 10,000 Protest In Tel Aviv For Peace & End To Occupation

Under a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the largest anti-war demonstration since the outbreak of violence in Gaza. More>>

ALSO:

Al Jazeera: Amal Alamuddin Lays Down Law On Jailing Journalists In Egypt

Amal Alamuddin, leading human rights lawyer, and expert on Egyptian legal system, has detailed the injustices in the Egyptian trial of three Al Jazeera English journalists in an incisive opinion piece for the Huffington Post. More>>

Ebola:UN Health Agency Reports Encouraging Signs In Nigeria

UNICEF and Partners take to the streets of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, to provide information on how to combat the Ebola outbreak as well as distribute soap and chlorine. Photo: UNICEF Guinea More>>



Indigenous Tribes: Peru Criticized For Failing Its Most Vulnerable Citizens

Peru Criticized for Failing Its Most Vulnerable Citizens Several weeks after seven uncontacted Indians emerged near the Brazil-Peru border, more uncontacted Indians have made first contact with Brazilian government agents, reportedly fleeing attacks ... More>>

Iraq: UN Declares Iraq ‘Level 3 Emergency’

The distribution of tents and non-food aid continues as the population of Newroz camp grows as more and more Yazidis arrive from Mount Sinjar in Iraq. Photo: UNHCR More>>

Ebola: Ebola: UN Says More Than 1 Million People Affected

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today convened a United Nations system-wide coordination meeting in response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which is now affecting more than 1 million people in the so-called “hot zone of disease transmission” ... More>>


UN News: ‘World Must Act Now’ To Avert Famine In Somalia

A United Nations human rights expert today urged the international community to “act now” to avert a humanitarian disaster in Somalia, where a widening hunger crisis has sparked fears of a repeat of the 2011 famine that devastated the war-ravaged ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news