FAO/IAEA/WHO Seminar on the Use of Irradiation for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Purposes
A Joint FAO/IAEA/WHO Seminar on the Use of Irradiation for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Purposes was attended by over 30 participants from 11 IAEA Member States. Presentations were made on the Achievements of the International Consultative Group on Food Irradiation (A. Lustre), Use of Irradiation for Sanitary Purposes (T. Rubio-Cabello), Safety of Irradiated Food (G. Moy) and Current and Future International Organization Activities on the Use of Irradiation (D. Byron). The Seminar proposed that further assistance should be given through the various existing mechanisms to train analysts in the detection of irradiated foods and in the communication of risk to relevant parties.
Dr Jorgen Schlundt, Director of the WHO Food Safety Department presented an overview of the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), which was inaugurated at GF-2. The network also includes a mechanism for the rapid exchange of information during food safety emergencies (referred to as INFOSAN Emergency). INFOSAN, which is operated in cooperation with FAO, was launched at the last WHO World Health Assembly in May 2004 and responds to requests from the assembly for WHO to facilitate communication during emergencies caused by natural, accidental and intentional contamination of food. In particular, INFOSAN Emergency also responds to a request from Codex member countries for WHO to maintain a list of official contact points for emergency situations involving health and safety of consumers.
Five Keys to Safer Food
Dr Jorgen Schlundt introduced WHO's Five Keys to Safer Food training materials, highlighting the importance of keeping food safety education messages simple. In recognition of the need for adaptation of the core messages of the Five Keys to local or specific situations, it was reported that WHO had developed a training manual to facilitate this adaptation. WHO Regional Advisors presented the materials developed based on the five keys, including mass media spots, games, posters, interactive websites, and targeted posters, some of which are particularly geared toward children, rural populations or food service establishments. The presenters also noted the inclusion of a scheme to evaluate the effectiveness of the training programme. It was noted that WHO was in the process of testing the training materials and the manual in a number of countries in various regions of the world.
International Portal on Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health
A presentation and live demonstration of the International Portal on Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health was given by the FAO Secretariat. The design and use of the portal, as well as the benefits for member countries of inputting their relevant national information in the portal were outlined. Delegates were directed to an on-line survey which will provide FAO with feedback on the information management needs of countries, as well as providing a means for countries to indicate their interest in collaboration in the portal. An information paper on the portal is available as CRD 3.
FAO Food Safety Capacity Building Needs Assessment
Dr Ezzeddine Boutrif presented an FAO Food Safety Capacity Building Needs Assessment tool, which had been prepared in cooperation with WHO and would be available in December 2004. The reasons for assessing capacity building needs, the steps in the capacity building process, and the target audience and design of the manual were outlined. The speaker noted that the tool contained a general section on capacity building needs and five modules addressing needs in five major area related to food safety, as well as a number of supporting tools and templates to supplement the needs assessment process. It was mentioned that the tool would be peer reviewed and tested in various regions of the world in the upcoming months.
FAO/WHO Training Package to Enhance National Participation in the Work of Codex
The FAO Secretariat presented an FAO/WHO Training Package to Enhance National Participation in the Work of Codex, which was currently being peer reviewed and finalized. The speaker outlined the contents of the package, including information on the organization and working procedures of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and its subsidiary bodies, guidance on establishing effective national Codex programmes, and practical examples from member countries. It was noted that the package was organized into modules and slide presentations, which enabled the use of the materials in seminars and training courses.
Consumers International: "Consumer Concerns - Food Safety and GMOs"
Consumers International (CI) organized a side event on "Consumer Concerns - Food Safety and GMOs" on 14 October 2004 immediately following the closing ceremony of GF-2. The objectives of the event were to inform participants of the consumer concerns with regards to food safety and GMOs, to identify and create contacts with country representatives of importance to the CI GMO campaign, and to increase the profile of the consumer movement and its involvement in this issue. The event was chaired by Dr Sri Ram Khanna, Managing Trustee of VOICE, India and included presentations by Dr Suman Sahai (Gene Campaign, India), Dr Michael Hansen (Consumers Union, USA) and Dr Vitoon Lianchamroon (Biothai, Thailand). The event was conceptualized and managed by Bejon Misra, CEO VOICE with local support from the Thai Consumer Organizations. The complete report of the event, including conclusions, is available from www.consumer-voice.org.
Food Safety Road Map: Handling the associated trade opportunities and conflicts
The Thailand National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards, in collaboration with the Thailand National Food Institute, convened a seminar on Food Safety Road Map: Handling the associated trade opportunities and conflicts on Friday, 15 October 2004 at the Emerald City Hotel in Bangkok. Presentations were made by Messrs. Hartwig de Haen, Kraisid Tontisirin and Ezzeddine Boutrif of FAO; Dr Apichart Pongsrihadulchai of the Thailand National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards; Dr Bob Brackett of the United States Food and Drug Administration; Dr Patrick Deboyser of the delegation of the European Commission to Thailand; and Dr Kazumi Ueno, project manager of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) study team on "Food Safety System". A panel discussion was held on the "Break through crisis of Thai agricultural and food commodities under the policy of Thailand food safety year 2004: private sector's perspective", which was moderated by a representative of the Thailand National Food Institute.
International Symposium on "In Search of a Better and More Effective Food Safety System: Thailand Towards the Kitchen of the World"
The Symposium was organized by the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University in cooperation with WHO and provided the first opportunity for a national discussion on the outcome of GF-2. Dr Gerald Moy, GEMS/Food Manager, WHO Food Safety Department presented a paper on the current global food safety situation. Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert provided comments on the safety of the food supply from chemical hazard. A number of speakers addressed the situation in Thailand in the context of food quality, GMP and HACCP. Professor Jongjit Angkatavanich led a panel of experts to explore the possible structure of the food safety system in Thailand in the future. Mr Alan Reilly of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland spoke on his experience with the single agency model.