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Food Chain Crisis

The human food chain is under continued threat from an alarming increase in the number of outbreaks of transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases (including aquatic and forest pests and diseases), as well as food safety and radiation events.

Avian influenza, peste des petits ruminants, locust infestations, wheat, cassava, maize and banana diseases, armyworm, fruit flies, food-borne pathogens and mycotoxins are just some examples of threats to the human food chain that have detrimental effects on food security, human health, livelihoods, national economies and global markets.

The Food Chain Crisis - Emergency Prevention System (FCC-EMPRES) is a corporate multidisciplinary approach that integrates prevention, early warning, preparedness, and response to food chain emergencies. FAO through FCC-EMPRES supports member countries and enhances institutional collaboration in the global governance of transboundary threats to the food chain at all stages from production to consumption.

FCC-EMPRES operates through three systems:

Animal Health

EMPRES Animal Health promotes the harmonization of global and regional approaches for early warning, rapid detection and timely response to transboundary animal diseases of international, regional and national concern, such as avian influenza, peste des petits ruminants, foot-and-mouth disease, Brucellosis and others. Through EMPRES Animal Health, FAO works with countries to develop and sustain their capabilities: i) in early warning and strategic planning; ii) to respond rapidly to animal health emergencies; and iii) to coordinate resources, partners and actions to better protect animals, people and livelihoods in an ever changing global health environment. EMPRES also fully embraces the One Health approach in addressing animal health issues at the human-animal ecosystems interface, given that 70 percent of human diseases originate in animals.

Plant Protection

EMPRES Plant Protection focuses on several transboundary pests and diseases impacting livelihoods, food security and national economies, such as Desert Locust, and other locusts in the Caucasus and Central Asia and in Africa; armyworm in eastern and southern Africa, affecting agropastoral resources and livelihoods; fruit flies impacting the horticultural industry in more than 30 African countries; crop diseases such as wheat and coffee rust diseases, banana, cassava and maize diseases. Monitoring and early warning are key to prevent transboundary plant pests and diseases. Global state-of-threat specialized tools for recording and transmitting field data and custom geographic information systems for analysing locust data can be adapted for other transboundary plant pests and diseases.

Food Safety

Globalized trade means not only does food travel further and faster, but so do food-borne pathogens. EMPRES Food Safety assists countries and regions in developing prevention-oriented food control systems and effective strategies for mitigating adverse food safety events and managing food safety emergencies. EMPRES Food Safety guides countries and regions in improving their early warning and rapid alert capabilities for food safety in line with the One Health approach. It collaborates with the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), which alerts the countries on imminent food safety threats.

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