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The First International Food Safety Conference underway in Addis Ababa


Over 700 delegates have gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for The First International Food Safety Conference, hosted jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU).

Government leaders, senior policy makers, and representatives from international organizations, civil society and the private sector, will identify key actions and strategies to address current and future challenges to food safety globally; and to strengthen commitment at the highest political level to scale up food safety in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In opening the conference and welcoming delegates, Moussa Faki Mahamat, African Union Commission Chairperson stressed the importance of food safety not only in times of foodborne outbreaks, and the need for a mechanism to address and coordinate food safety in Africa. “The collaboration of continents, towards a common objective of improving the lives of people, will facilitate greater understanding and a move towards a cooperative world,” he said.

“There can be no food security without food safety,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva speaking at the opening ceremony.  The FAO DG also highlighted the importance of Codex standards, based on scientific evidence and covering the entire food production chain, in ensuring that food is safe “regardless of the borders it has crossed”. Codex offers “a great platform” for strengthening and harmonizing trade standards,” he said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reminded delegates that food safety “is everybody’s issue” and that the conference was an opportunity to “learn, build and innovate”, to create strong networks between countries and sectors.

In opening remarks the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevêdo underlined the importance of effective food control systems to ensure that imported food is safe. "The SBS and TBT Agreements ensure that food safety requirements are based on science and that they are fit for purpose,” he said.

Some of the key issues to be addressed over two days include the benefits of investing in safe food; safe and sustainable food systems in the context of a changing climate; science, innovation and digital transformations for food safety; and empowering consumers to make healthy choices and support sustainable food systems.


Learn more

Conference website

Live webcast