The 1996 World Food Summit Rome Declaration reaffirms the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger. The World Food Summit Plan of Action recognises that: "Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". Ensuring the quality and safety of food is therefore an essential consideration in any food security programme.
The Fifty-third World Health Assembly (May 2000) adopted a resolution calling upon WHO and its Member States to recognise food safety as an essential public health function, with the goal of developing sustainable, integrated food-safety systems for the reduction of health risk along the entire food chain. The resolution also asked WHO to encourage evidence-based strategies for the control of food-borne diseases and to provide guidance in prioritizing such strategies.
FAO has always given high priority to programmes and activities dealing with food quality, safety and consumer protection. WHO has also had a continuing commitment to the fundamental principle that ensuring food safety is an essential activity and an integral part of any public health programme.
On many occasions, FAO and WHO Member Countries expressed their desire for fora to be held, outside the existing negotiation meetings, where they could exchange information and experiences on food safety issues that are of national and trans-national importance.
The Communiqués of the Okinawa (2000) and Genoa (2001) G-8 Summits encouraged FAO and WHO to organize periodic international meetings of food safety regulators to advance the process of science-based public consultations. Following the successful First FAO/WHO Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in January 2002, under the general theme of "Improving Efficiency and Transparency in Food Safety Systems - Sharing Experiences", FAO and WHO convened the Second Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators in Bangkok, Thailand, from 12 to 14 October 2004, with Building effective food safety systems as the main theme. The Forum was most generously hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and was supported by the Governments of Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Commission. It provided the opportunity for food safety regulators from all parts of the world to meet together outside the usual negotiating circles to exchange information and experiences on important food safety issues and promote partnerships and cooperation among all food safety regulators and stakeholders for the benefit of safer food for all.