Public health and food safety

In public health and food safety FAO collaborates closely with the World Health Organization (WHO).  As most public health and food safety threats have their origin in animal or plant diseases, FAO’s specialized units liaise with WHO when outbreaks occur by monitoring the situation and developing common approaches to address the source cause and mitigate its effects.  Also, FAO is fully engaged with WHO in developing the joint programme on International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) which complements FAO’s Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases in order to minimize the risk of such emergencies developing.

Aside from such emergency-related common action, a longstanding collaborative programme between FAO and WHO is the Codex Alimentarius Commission, established in 1963.  This programme develops food standards, guidelines and related texts for protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair trade practices in food trade, as well as promoting coordination of food standard setting activities undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.  The two organizations also collaborate closely in public health policy, including on nutrition guidelines, to respond to emerging non-communicative diseases related to tobacco use, physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet.