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Food specialists declare commitment to ensuring healthy diets for all

The Budapest declaration

Food scientists and technologists have an essential role in ensuring nutritional well-being throughout the world and can foster sustainable development in low-income countries. This was recognized at the ninth World Congress of Food Science and Technology, held in Budapest, Hungary from 30 July to 4 August 1995. The congress, held every four years, is sponsored by the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFOST), which represents over 150000 food scientists and technologists from around the world, Over 1500 scientists, food technologists, educators, food industry representives, consumers and representatives from government, intergovernmental agencies and non-governmental organizations participated in the meeting, where they declared their commitment to protect and promote nutritional well-being for all.

The Budapest Declaration is based on the World Declaration on Nutrition of the FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition, Rome, December 1992, which was adopted by acclamation by ministers and plenipotentiaries representing 159 States and the European Economic Community. This source is indicated by italics below,

The Budapest declaration

1. We, the delegates to the ninth General Assembly of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFOST), in reference to the Joint FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition (Rome, 1992) and its World Declaration on Nutrition, declare our determination to work for the elimination of hunger and reduction of all forms of malnutrition throughout the world. We recognize that access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is the right of each individual. We also declare our commitment to work with all other organizations to ensure sustained nutritional well-being for all people in a peaceful, just and environmentally safe world. In this endeavour, we recognize the central role of food science and technology in ensuring the year-round availability of the quantity and variety of safe and wholesome foods necessary to meet the nutritional needs of the world's growing population.

2. Despite appreciable worldwide improvements in life expectancy, adult literacy and nutritional status, we all view with the deepest concern the unacceptable fact that about 800 million people in developing countries - 20 percent of their combined population - still do not have access to enough food to meet the basic daily needs for nutritional well-being. We are especially concerned by the high prevalence and increasing numbers of malnourished children under five years of age in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean as well as other parts of the world. Moreover, 2000 million people, mostly women and children, are deficient in one or more micronutrients; babies continue to be born mentally retarded as a result of iodine deficiency; children go blind and die of vitamin A deficiency; and enormous numbers of women and children are adversely affected by iron deficiency. Hundreds of millions of people, particularly young children, pregnant women, the immunocompromised and the elderly, also suffer from communicable and non-communicable diseases caused by contaminated food and drinking water. At the same time, chronic non-communicable diseases related to unbalanced dietary intakes often lead to premature deaths. Taken together, these diseases result in enormous health care costs as well as important losses due to reduced economic productivity. We recognize that the contributions of food science and technology are essential in solving many of these problems, especially those related to inappropriate dietary intakes, food hazards and micronutrient deficiencies.

3. We recognize that poverty and limited access to education, which are commonly the effects of underdevelopment, are often major causes of hunger and undernutrition. There are poor people in most societies who do not have adequate access to food, safe water and sanitation, health services and education, which are the basic requirements for nutritional well-being. To overcome these problems, there is ah urgent need to strengthen the food science and technology base to support food and agriculture sectors, especially in low-income, food-deficit countries, in order to expand and diversify food supplies, create income-earning opportunities and generate local resources for development.

4. Slow progress in solving nutrition problems in many countries reflects the lack of human and financial resources, institutional capacity and policy commitment needed to assess the nature, magnitude and causes of nutrition problems and to implement concerted programmes to overcome them, Basic and applied scientific research, as well as food and nutrition surveillance systems, are needed to identify more clearly the factors that contribute to the problems of malnutrition and the ways and means of eliminating these problems, particularly for women, children and aged persons. We recognize that food science and technology inputs together with modern biotechnology are essential in many basic and applied scientific research programmes. We further recognize our responsibility to promote public understanding of issues involving food science and technology, so that public support and acceptance allow the timely introduction of beneficial applications of present and emerging new technologies.

5. The right of women and adolescent girls to adequate nutrition is crucial. Their health and education must be improved. Women should be given the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process and to have increased access to and control of resources. We recognize that, in many parts of the world, women have a particularly important role in food production, handling and preparation.

6. We acknowledge the importance of further liberalization and expansion of world trade, which would increase foreign exchange earnings and employment in developing countries. We recognize the important role of food science and technology in the establishment of standards, guidelines and other recommendations of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, including their acceptance by national food authorities.

7. We recognize aspects of food science and technology as integral components, both in the preparation of national Plans of Action for Nutrition and in the formulation of economic development plans, and identify the following areas as being especially significant:

· promotion of the safety and quality of all foods,
· reduction of pre- and post-harvest food losses,
· adoption and improvement of traditional foods and processes,
· beneficial application of biotechnology and other new technologies,
· development and dissemination of improved knowledge of food composition,
· promotion of domestic and international food trade,
· development of food materials with improved functionality,
· more efficient and environmentally sustainable food production and processes,
· education in nutrition, food science and technology at all levels.

8. We support the active cooperation among governments, multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental organizations, academic bodies, the private sector, communities and individuals to eliminate progressively the causes that lead to the scandal of hunger and all forms of malnutrition in the midst of abundance. We the adhering bodies of IUFOST, representing professional food scientists and technologists from 58 nations throughout the world, are fully committed to cooperate and collaborate with all parties in achieving these objectives.

9. We recognize that efforts to ensure safe and adequate diets for the people of the world can only succeed when social, cultural, political, economic and educational components of the problem are also addressed. We further recognize that, in addition to adequate resources to assure household food security, consumers must have an adequate knowledge of the basics of food safety and nutrition to protect their health and to promote their nutritional well-being.

10. With a clear appreciation for the intrinsic value of human life and in recognition of the right of all individuals to safe and nutritionally adequate food, we adopt this declaration and affirm our commitment as food scientists and technologists to protect and promote nutritional well-being for all.

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