Food Coalition

Improving food safety along the value chain

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption to food systems and the global economy. As expected, the spotlight on food safety has intensified during the COVID-19 crisis as people seek to reduce their exposure to the virus and as food systems are required to deliver safe and nutritious food to all under rapidly changing circumstances. Most countries in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region are net importers of food and dependant on global value chains to provide sufficient, nutritious and diverse diet for populations facing health pandemic and economic recession. Food exports, on the other hand, provided important means for some countries in the Region (non-oil economies in particular) to generate foreign exchange. Effective food safety systems are considered critical to maintaining and expanding market shares in food and agricultural exports by complying with food safety regulations of importing countries

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of strengthening food safety and preserving nutritional quality of food to tackle a broad array of issues: preventing contamination in the food chain to reduce foodborne illness and emergence diseases such as COVID-19; promoting nutrition and healthy diets as the first line of defense against the underlying health issues that cause the disease to manifest more severely; strengthening local food trade channels particularly of nutrient-rich and perishable fresh fruit, vegetable, fish, dairy and meat; supporting access to nutrient-rich foods in balance with staples where unemployment and economic downturn lowers purchasing power; strengthening national food safety control systems, capacity and  knowledge of VC actors, and consumer protection activities; and enhancing local NENA value chains and informal sector to apply food safety management practices. The COVID-19 pandemic has also reminded us about the importance of integrating food safety into national public health, food security, environmental, trade and development agendas, and supporting a multi-sectoral "One Heath" approach.

Priority Areas of work: Food Systems Transformation
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 15. Life on Land
Level: Regional
Region: Near East and North Africa
Country: Egypt, Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Yemen
Budget: USD 2 million

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