Food safety and quality

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The world is facing an unprecedented threat from the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (referred to as the COVID-19 virus). The purpose of these guidelines is to highlight additional measures so that the integrity of the food chain is maintained, and that adequate and safe food supplies are available for consumers.
2020
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents an exceptional and unprecedented challenge for national food control competent authorities to continue conducting routine functions and activities in accordance with national regulations and international recommendations. In many countries, food control competent authorities apply temporary measures with more flexibility in official controls in food supply chain prioritizing high risk food businesses, making use of video for e-inspection or authorizing some laboratories to complement the work of official ones. Staff are largely working from home, teleworking being the normal practice and all face-to-face meetings cancelled or rescheduled as teleconferences. It is...
2020
Climate change is causing unprecedented damage to our ecosystem. Increasing temperatures, ocean warming and acidification, severe droughts, wildfires, altered precipitation patterns, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and amplification of extreme weather events have direct implications for our food systems. While the impacts of such environmental factors on food security are well known, the effects on food safety receive less attention. The purpose of Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety is to identify and attempt to quantify some current and anticipated food safety issues that are associated with climate change. The food safety hazards considered in the publication are foodborne...
2020
Specific information about the virus responsible for COVID-19 is and remains scant; however, the behaviour and characteristics of the virus can be predicted based on data from similar viruses such as those responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Despite the hypothesis that the virus may have originated in bats and infected another animal used for food, there is no evidence of continued transmission of the virus from animals to humans through the food chain. The application of sound principles of environmental sanitation, personal hygiene and established food safety practices will reduce the likelihood...
2020
Given the current absence of international guidance and regulations, a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Tropane Alkaloids was convened remotely on 30 March-3 April 2020 to provide scientific advice that will allow for appropriate risk management options for products used by the World Food Programme in delivering food assistance in emergencies. Tropane alkaloids are a group of compounds occurring in several plant families of the Solanaceae genera that can contaminate staples like cereals and grains. The key discussions and outcomes of the expert meeting have been captured in this executive summary. This meeting is part of the FAO Scientific Advice Programme,...
2020
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections are a substantial public health issue worldwide. Circa 2010, foodborne STEC caused more than 1 million illnesses, 128 deaths and  13 000 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). To appropriately target interventions to prevent STEC infections transmitted through food, it is important to determine the specific types of foods leading to these illnesses. This report conducted an analysis of data from STEC foodborne outbreak investigations reported globally, and a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies of sporadic STEC infections published for all dates and locations. This work was undertaken in response to a request from the...
2019
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections are a substantial public health issue worldwide, causing more than 1 million illnesses, 128 deaths and nearly 13 000 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) annually. To appropriately target interventions to prevent STEC infections transmitted through food, it is important to determine the specific types of foods leading to these illnesses. An analysis of data from STEC foodborne outbreak investigations reported globally, and a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies of sporadic STEC infections published for all dates and locations, were conducted.A total of 957 STEC outbreaks from 27 different countries were included...
2019
This document contains food additive specification monographs, analytical methods, and other information prepared at the eighty-seventh meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which was held in Rome, 4–13 June 2019. The tasks before the Committee were (a) to elaborate principles governing the evaluation of food additives, (b) to undertake safety evaluations of certain food additives, (c) to review and prepare specifications for certain food additives and (d) to establish specifications for certain flavouring agents. The Committee evaluated the safety of six food additives (including one group of food additives) and revised the specifications for five...
2019
The main objective of the tool is to propose a harmonized, objective and consensual basis to analyse the performance of a national food control system. It is intended to be used by countries as a supporting basis for self-assessment to identify priority areas of improvement and plan sequential and coordinated activities to reach expected outcomes, and by repeating the assessment on a regular basis, countries can monitor their progresses. The Tool is based on Codex principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems as well as other relevant Codex guidance for food control systems, which are referenced throughout the document....
2019
The main objective of the Food control system assessment tool is to propose a harmonized, objective and consensual basis to analyse the performance of a national food control system. It is intended to be used by countries as a supporting basis for self-assessment to identify priority areas of improvement and plan sequential and coordinated activities to reach expected outcomes, and by repeating the assessment on a regular basis, countries can monitor their progresses. The Tool is based on Codex principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems as well as other relevant Codex guidance for food control systems, which are...
2019
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