Food safety and quality
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Policy advice

2 July 2007, Rome - A general view of the opening ceremony of the 30th Session of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, at FAO headquarters - ©FAO / Alessandra Benedetti
Bringing food safety to the political agenda

Despite the growing recognition of food safety as a public health priority and as an essential requirement for food trade, investment to ensure safety of the food supply is still often limited and not well planned in many developing countries.

This is not just due to a lack or limited financial resources but more often a poor understanding of food safety and its implications, which often results in a downgrading of food safety to “low priority” in the national political agenda.

When developing food safety policies a range of factors can come into play including – international regulations and accepted approaches, private sector and consumer interests and requirements, political will and socio-economic issues – in addition to science and risk assessments. Often all these factors are weighed against one another in managing food safety hazards and determining the most acceptable level of risk.

Sound food safety policies should establish a clear leadership function and administrative structures with clearly defined accountability. Approaches pursued by many countries include the development and implementation of an integrated national food control strategy to enforce systems of control, secure funds and allocate resources.

We support member countries by advising national governments on policies and regulatory frameworks for food safety/quality management that determine national food safety measures and controls, and support compliance with international food safety requirements, particularly those of the Codex Alimentarius.

Policy advice work also supports national institutions to effectively invest, design and manage food control programmes. Thus enabling effective food safety decisions to be taken based on solid information and facts even in a context of limited resources.