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EMPRES Food Safety


Food chain approach for emergencies

The FAO Emergency Prevention System for Food Safety (EMPRES Food Safety) unit works with FAO members and other partners to prevent food safety emergencies. It is a fundamental component of FAO’s Food Chain Crisis Management Framework (FCC). The FCC addresses, in an integrated way, all food chain threats from production to consumption, including in animal health, plant protection and food safety.

The globalization of the food supply and the increased complexity of the food chain have heightened public concern about food safety, particularly for foods traded on a transboundary basis. A greater awareness now exists among the public and food safety agencies about the impact of contaminated food on both human health and the economic well being of the agri-food industry.

The main aim of EMPRES Food Safety is to prevent and control food safety risks. As a key international system to assist in the prevention and management of global food safety emergencies EMPRES Food Safety serves FAO members with the three pillars of early warning, emergency prevention and rapid response.

An estimated three million people around the world, in developed and developing countries, die every year from food and water-borne disease, with millions more becoming sick. Occurrence of such disease can easily escalate to a food safety emergency situation, which can adversely impact national economies and livelihoods through reduced availability of food for national consumption, closure of export markets, and/or the high cost of addressing the effects of the threat.

To contribute to the efforts to reduce this adverse impact of food safety emergencies on global food security and public health, and at the request of its members, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has established an Emergency Prevention System for Food Safety (EMPRES Food Safety). EMPRES Food Safety will complement and enhance FAO’s ongoing work in food safety, as well as in animal health and plant health emergencies.

In this regard, and as the first step toward the development and implementation of EMPRES Food Safety, the Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division (AGN) of FAO, in collaboration with other concerned technical divisions and units, has prepared this Strategic Plan, which aims at making full use of relevant available expertise along the food chain within FAO.

The plan reflects FAO’s comparative advantages of having a mandate covering the entire food chain, its status as a neutral international forum and its linkages with national governments, regional bodies, other international agencies, universities, research centres and the donor community. The Plan will be regularly updated to reflect the ever-changing nature of food safety emergencies.