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FOOD CHAIN CRISIS

FCC-EMPRES Information Sheet

This section introduces FCC–EMPRES core activities through successful programs and initiatives that illustrate FAO’s role in supporting member countries to prevent, prepare and respond to transboundary, high impact animal and plant pests and diseases and food safety threats.
A series of information sheets showcases what FAO has introduced and developed, what it has improved and, most of all, what it has achieved in prevention, preparedness, and response to emergencies affecting the food chain.

Rinderpest is a highly contagious disease that, throughout history, has resulted in the mortality of hundreds of millions of livestock and has caused significant disruption and damage to agricultural supply chains throughout the world. FAO, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and regional partners implemented the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme, which brought an end to the disease in 2011. Rinderpest is the first animal disease to be eradicated worldwide.

This information sheet focuses on the work that the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) – a global network jointly managed by FAO and WHO – is doing to prevent, prepare, and respond to food safety events and emergencies. INFOSAN contributes to efficient prevention and control of cross-border spread of unsafe food through information sharing among countries in case of food safety emergencies. It also fosters a global community of practice among food safety professionals. The INFOSAN Secretariat’s arm at FAO is located in the FAO Food Safety and Quality Unit, specifically in the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) – Food Safety programme.

The information sheet describes The information sheet describes the results achieved by the ‘Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)’ established in 2011. The Programme is based on the key concepts of the locust preventive control strategy consisting of monitoring locust habitats. Early to detection of changes in number, density, behaviour and appearance within the locust populations leads to reduced damage on crops and rangelands, reduced negative impact on human health and environment due to less use of chemicals and reduced cost.

The information sheet also describes the way forward to the Programme, based on a common vision, objectives, expected results and envisaged activities for the coming five years. 

Chestnut (Castanea species) are trees providing crucial resources for livelihoods in many parts of the world, with a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits. The Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) is considered to be one of the most harmful insect pests of chestnut varieties in the world and can cause serious damage. However, protecting forest health from ACGW is possible using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles including classical biological control methods.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging threat for public health globally and can be a cause of severe respiratory infection in humans, especially those suffering other ailments. Dromedary camels are thought to be a natural reservoir of MERS-CoV and can be a source of infection for humans. MERS-CoV is transmitted from person to person through close contact, especially in healthcare settings. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained person-to-person spread.

The Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria, is the world’s most dangerous migratory pest with a voracious appetite unmatched in the insect world. Established in 1955 by FAO, when the world was in the midst of a 12-year-long Desert Locust plague, the Desert Locust Control Committee (DLCC) is the primary forum that brings together locust-affected countries, donors and other agencies to discuss Desert Locust management under the FAO umbrella. DLCC is also the primary advisory body to the Director-General of FAO on all Desert Locust issues.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when micro-organisms – bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites – evolve resistance to antimicrobial substances, like antibiotics, antifungals and others. This occurs naturally through adaptation to the environment or through selective pressure when microorganisms come into contact with antimicrobials. The process is accelerated when there is inappropriate or excessive use of antimicrobials. As a result, medicines that were once effective treatments for disease in people and animals become less effective or not effective at all, leading to a reduced ability to successfully treat infections. This in turn leads to more severe or prolonged illnesses, increased mortality, production losses in agriculture and reduced livelihoods and food security.

The human food chain is under continued threat from an alarming increase in the number of outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases (TADs). Considering the resurgence of certain animal diseases, and persistent threats posed by TADs, a strong emphasis is needed to continue FAO efforts towards building country capacities in preparedness for animal disease emergencies. Planning for emergency disease eradication and control programmes enables regions and national veterinary services to be better equipped to cope with the emergency and achieve rapid and cost-efficient control.

Wheat is the most widely grown crop globally and a source of food and livelihoods for over 1 billion people in many developing countries. Rust diseases are historically the most damaging diseases of wheat. Their frequency, extent and impact has increased significantly in the last two decades causing global concerns. Their high capacity of developing new races makes most wheat varieties vulnerable to them. FAO is continuously re-enforcing its collaboration with partners to enhance countries’ capacities in prevention and preparedness to rust diseases.

In all regions of the world, livelihoods of people are sustained partially or entirely by the livestock sector. Livestock contribute approximately 40 percent of the global value of agricultural output and support the livelihoods and food security of almost a 1.3 billion people. Supporting efforts to reduce the risk of transboundary threats to animal and public health is critical.

Global disease intelligence and early warning, supported by science-based risk assessment are key to inform decisions, actions, and timely communication between agencies and sectors responsible for human health, animal health, wildlife, and food safety.

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