Food safety and quality

FAO and WHO report joint support to managing international food safety incidents


The FAO/WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) has released a new publication for its members to recognize the trends of food safety issues in international food trade and to provide a holistic overview of the global activities carried out through the Network. Outlining the landscape of foodborne disease and INFOSAN’s efforts, the publication will allow for countries to better shape their national strategies and actions in managing international food safety incidents and emergencies.  

The publication, INFOSAN Activity Report 2018/2019, starts with statistical analyses of food safety incidents notified and managed through INFOSAN over the last five years. It then goes on to summarize the capacity development activities that helped members to better tackle such issues through INFOSAN and the network-building activities that have connected regional and global initiatives, promoting collaborative approaches. The publication also illustrates the growing membership, platforms and events where INFOSAN was highlighted, and information on deliberations at the Second Global Meeting of INFOSAN held in Abu Dhabi in December 2019. 

“INFOSAN has been a critical part of our work at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and given that we are responsible for developing surveillance plans, we’re always looking for new ideas and contacts with other members to ensure that we do the best work possible. The CFIA uses INFOSAN and its members to create those relationships with other competent authorities and be able to develop better sampling plans, use better methodologies and be faster in our responses,” Annie Locas, INFOSAN Focal Point of Canada from the CFIA says. 

INFOSAN is a member-driven network and thus a united and sustained effort must be made by all INFOSAN members for the Network to reach its full potential. “Since its inception, the INFOSAN Secretariat has facilitated international communications between members during hundreds of food safety events; including 162 during the 2018/2019 biennium, double the number of events dealt with in the previous biennium,” the publication states. To strengthen prevention, preparedness and response to food safety incidents and emergencies, the INFOSAN community, with food safety professionals and competent authorities involved all over the world, has been increasingly important with its usefulness continuing to grow.

The INFOSAN Activity Report 2018/2019 serves as an important source of information for competent authorities responsible for food safety. The INFOSAN Secretariat encourages members to review and utilize the report to further, focus and strengthen their own initiatives.


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