Page tools
WFSD food tank.png

Food Tank in the United States of America hosts an international discussion about One Health


Food Tank, a U.S.-based food advocacy organization, hosted a panel discussion on June 7 to talk about "One Health: Food Safety for All" in the occasion of the World Food Safety Day. The panel included key international experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as from academia and the public sector.

The discussion focused on the One Health approach to food safety which recognizes the connection between the health of people, animals, plants, and the environment.

Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, WHO explained the definition of One Health as an approach to design and implement programs, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes. Dr Branca also noted that the close interaction between environment, animals and humans has been documented with an impact on human health, animal health and planetary health, with 75% of new infectious diseases emerged during last years coming from animals.

“We’ve overexploited resources, reduced biodiversity, changed the planet, put stress on ecosystems and created opportunities for this to emerge,” said Francesco Branca, WHO. Dr Branca pointed that One Health High Level Expert Panel was set up with World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), because governments have realized that unless action is taken, we are going to face another crisis like COVID-19.

based on the best international science

Tom Heilandt, Secretary of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, underlined the importance of trust in science and governments. When asked why one should trust Codex standards he said: “Do you trust science? Do you trust your government? Our standards are based on the best international science provided by FAO and WHO, and it is the Member States’ decision to adopt and apply them. All Codex standards are voluntary and we have noted that those that receive a good consensus within Codex members are more likely to be widely applied. Working together on the standards has the positive side effects to create networks of people who are also more likely to work together outside Codex. Codex is results and relationships.”

Professor Alan Reilly, formerly with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), mentioned the importance of breaking down the silos and having operational management to work together for all agencies working on food safety issues, because there is economic sense and citizens benefit from this approach. “We need to do it now and lay down the systems to prevent the next pandemic,” said Professor Reilly.

The discussion on collaborative and cross-sectoral approach, moderated by Food Tank’s President Danielle Nierenberg, continued with Makaiko Khonje from the MwAPATA Institute in Lilongwe, Malawi, and Dr Carla L. Schwan from the Food Safety and Defense Lab, Kansas State University.


For the recording of the webinar:

For more information about Food Tank: