Food safety and quality

All countries should have access to the best science to ensure food is safe.
Safe food production enables market access and productivity, which drives economic development and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas.
More than 600 million people fall ill and 420 000 die every year as a result of eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals.
Foodborne diseases can affect individuals of all ages, but those most vulnerable are children under five years of age and persons living in low-income subregions of the world.
In a world where the food supply chain has become more complex, any adverse food safety incident may have global negative effects on public health, trade and the economy.
Climate change can affect the geographic occurrence and prevalence of food safety hazards, leading to changed patterns of pathogens and mycotoxins, marine biotoxins and heavy metals (e.g. cadmium, mercury) contaminating food.
Good hygiene practices in the food and agriculture sectors help to reduce the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance along the food chain and in the environment and zoonotic diseases.
Collaboration across sectors and borders is essential to keeping food safe along the entire supply chain.
Food safety is key to achieving Zero Hunger.

FAO’s role

Keeping food safe is a complex process that starts on the farm and ends with the consumer. FAO is the only international organization overseeing all aspects of the food chain, thereby providing a unique, 360° vision on food safety. A longstanding partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) enhances this perspective. Through complementary mandates, FAO and WHO cover a range of issues to support global food safety and protect consumers’ health. WHO typically oversees and maintains strong relationships with the public health sector, and FAO generally addresses food safety issues along the food production chain.
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