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Press Release 01/101 Joint WHO/FAO

FAO AND WHO TO HOLD FIRST GLOBAL FORUM OF FOOD SAFETY REGULATORS


Geneva/Rome, 20 December 2001 - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are to convene a Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators in Marrakech, Morocco on 28-30 January 2002, the two agencies announced today.

The Marrakech Forum is the first global event bringing together senior food safety regulators to exchange information on approaches towards and experiences with food safety. The issues involved are of potential importance to public health and the international food trade. The Forum will also stimulate science-based public consultations, and help build food safety capacity, particularly in developing countries.

FAO and WHO organized the Forum at the request of member countries that urged the organizations to coordinate consultations among food safety regulators on urgent food safety issues. The Forum is also a response to the G-8 communiqué at Okinawa calling for "periodic international meetings of food safety regulators to advance the process of science-based public consultations."

Some of the subjects to be covered at the Forum are:

· Transboundary food safety emergencies
· New food inspection techniques,
· Risk management for the reduction of food borne diseases,
· Improvements to food safety systems, especially in developing countries, and
· Resource mobilization

Discussions will look at the role of industry and consumers, and how science-based food safety regulations are perceived by them.

International organizations attending as observers include: the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank and other development agencies

Participants in the Marrakech Forum will come largely from regulatory bodies for food safety in the Ministries of Agriculture and Health of FAO and WHO member countries. Representatives of independent food safety agencies and other ministries with responsibilities for food safety, and international Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) representing industry, producers, trade and retail associations, and consumer groups will also attend..

The meeting will encourage improved communication among scientists, regulators and consumer representatives.

* * * * * *

For further information, please call John Riddle at FAO Media Relations Service in
Rome: +39 06 5705 3625 or Public Information Officer, Mr. Gregory Hartl, Spokesperson/Porte-parole de l'OMS, World Health Organization, Geneva: +41 22 791 4458, E-Mail: hartlg@who.int .

Additional information is also available on the FAO web site at: http://www.fao.org and at the following URL: http://www.foodsafetyforum.org/global/index_en.htm


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