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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General and Russia’s Chief State Sanitary Physician agree to expand cooperation to improve nutrition

Russia presented its new national report on nutrition as follow-up to ICN2

29 February 2016, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today met with Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation and Head of Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being (Rospotrebnadzor) Anna Popova to discuss the ways to improve nutrition and food safety. The meeting was a part of the wider technical consultations between FAO and the Russian Federation on nutrition, food safety and consumer protection and antimicrobial resistance, which took place at FAO headquarters last week.

Improving nutrition in Russia and neighbouring countries

As a follow-up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), which took place in Rome, in November 2014, Popova presented a new comprehensive national report on nutrition. According to the report, over the past 25 years the consumption of fish in the Russian Federation has increased by 90%, the consumption of meat – by 40% and the consumption of vegetables – by 30%.

“These are very good results,” said Popova. “But at the same time we are still facing such problems as obesity and the lack of micronutrients. We cannot accept this situation, therefore our further steps aim at improving diets for Russian consumers by making them well-balanced, safer and healthier.”     

Graziano da Silva acknowledged the leadership of the Russian Federation in mobilizing political will and resources for the follow-up to ICN2, particularly, for its support through FAO to countries of Central Asia in promoting sustainable food systems for healthy diets. These measures include integrating nutrition objectives into food and agriculture, strengthening local food production and processing, and promoting the diversification of agricultural production, and strengthening value chains to make them more nutrition sensitive.

“The Russian Federation has been instrumental in encouraging South-South and Peer-to-Peer Cooperation for better food security and nutrition,” he said during the meeting.

Antimicrobial resistance as a serious threat to food safety

At the meeting, the Chief Sanitary Physician noted that one of the biggest emerging threats to food safety is the antimicrobial resistance.

“Today, we presented to FAO a new project to set up a network of reference laboratories in the Russian Federation covering neighbouring countries of the Eurasian Economic Union,” she said in remarks following her meeting with the Director-General. She also highlighted the importance of extending this project to all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Among other issues, Popova stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, as well as extending the use of Russian language as a regional language at Codex meetings. She also expressed Russia’s willingness to host events on nutrition and food safety, organised by Codex Alimentarius.

On a different note, Popova welcomed the recent opening of an FAO Liaison Office in Moscow and noted that collaboration with the new office will enable the parties to address the issues of food safety in a timely manner.