Food safety and quality

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Since the publication of the 2004 risk assessment, outbreaks of illness and resultant deaths due to L. monocytogenes continue to occur across the globe. Continued effort is needed to summarize and critically evaluate the most recent information on L. monocytogenes in RTE foods. New data to improve and further inform the 2004 Risk Assessment is available for nearly every factor considered previously, including new quantitative data on L. monocytogenes contamination of foods. To facilitate this work, an FAO/WHO expert meeting was held by virtual means from 20 October to 6 November 2020 to review and discuss the available data and background documents, and to assess the need to modify and update risk assessment models/tools. This report focuses on the deliberations and...
2022
Considering the unique outlook for cell-based food production, many countries may put in place various regulatory requirements for cell-based food products to be sold in the markets. Some may require a pre-market authorization process, which often entails assessment of their safety for human consumption and compliance with national regulations. As of 2022, while there is only a limited number of products authorized in one country only, it is just a matter of time before cell-based food starts being authorized elsewhere and/or transported and traded across borders. It is therefore important to first understand the existing frameworks under which cell-based food products may be regulated. It is also important to identify some specific regulations for food safety purposes, so that some...
2022
Food allergy can represent a serious human health issue. The observed rise in regional incidence and global prevalence of food allergies raise, among other, also questions about the risks related to the consumption of new, modified, and alternative protein sources. As we strive towards transforming food systems to match our need for sustainability, food security and adequate nutrition, we cannot lose sight of the importance of food safety. Population growth, socioeconomic development, and urbanization, among other factors is putting increasing pressure on the global food supply in general, and on protein sources in particular. New protein sources, such as plant-based meat alternatives and edible insects, while promising to be sustainable protein sources, can also potentially expose allergic and non-allergic consumers to...
2022
The world production of marine macroalgae, or seaweed, has more than tripled since the turn of the millennium, increasing from 10.6 million tonnes in 2000 to 32.4 million tonnes in 2018. Increased cultivation and utilization of seaweed are expected to be important pillars of sustainable food security and a robust aquatic economy in the coming years. It is important, therefore, to consider the food safety implications of (increased) seaweed use for food. Many factors can affect the presence of hazards in seaweed, including: the type of seaweed, its physiology, the season in which it is produced, production waters, harvesting methods and processing. Several hazards such as heavy metals and marine biotoxins have been reported to be (potentially) associated with seaweed....
2022
Cell-based food technologies allow for the production of animal proteins from in vitro grown animal or microbial cells. These technologies are developing rapidly and could play a role in safeguarding access to animal proteins for a growing world population, while further analyses are necessary to evaluate their sustainability and impact on human health and environmental health. There are currently a wide range of different terminologies in relation to the technologies, production processes and the final products, which might hamper clear communication to audiences from varying backgrounds and sectors. Moreover, the terminologies can influence both consumer perceptions and national regulatory frameworks, including the possible labelling requirements of cell-based food products to provide consumers with information regarding food safety, allergens, and nutrition....
2022
JEMRA convened a series of expert meetings on preventing and controlling microbiological hazards in fresh fruits and vegetables. The purpose of this final meeting was to reconvene the Expert Committee to collect, review, and discuss relevant commodity-specific interventions in all other fresh fruits and vegetables from the primary production to point-of-sale. The objective of the meetings was to evaluate commodity-specific interventions used at all stages of fresh fruit and vegetable production from primary production to postharvest activities, transportation, pointof-sale, and consumer use. Emphasis was placed on the identification and evaluation of interventions used throughout the world to reduce microbiological hazards on fresh fruits and vegetables that contribute to the risk of foodborne illnesses, taking into consideration their effectiveness, practicality, and suitability.
2022
This document contains food additive specification monographs, analytical methods, and other information prepared at the ninety second meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which was held virtually from 7 to 18 June 2021. The specification monographs provide information on the identity and purity of food additives used directly in foods or in food production. The main three objectives of these specifications are to identify the food additive that has been subjected to testing for safety, to ensure that the additives are of the quality required for use in food or in processing and to reflect and encourage good manufacturing practice. This publication and other documents produced by JECFA contain information that is useful to all...
2022
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been clearly identified as a major global health challenge. It is a leading cause of human deaths and also has a toll on animals, plants, and the environment. Despite the considerable socio-economic impacts, the level of awareness of the problem remains woefully inadequate, and antimicrobials are not generally recognized as a global common good, one that everyone has a role and responsibility to conserve. It is imperative for antimicrobial stewardship to be more widely implemented to achieve better control of the AMR phenomenon. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations plays an important role in promoting and facilitating antimicrobial stewardship. The specific needs to be addressed and barriers to be overcome, in particular,...
2022
What is foresight? How does it help our agrifood systems and the global food safety arena? The world we live in is constantly evolving. Keeping pace with these changing global contexts—while continuing to deliver safe and nutritious food for the growing global population—rests on the ability of our agrifood systems to sufficiently anticipate, absorb, and adapt to the changes. In this regard, there are concerted efforts underway to transform agrifood systems to make them more resilient, sustainable, and equitable in the face of the economic, environmental, and social challenges of today and those that may arise. This document is an author manuscript version of article that has been published externally in Food Safety Magazine June 8, 2022
2022
As the global population rises there is an increased need to find solutions to adequately feed the world. This is in the context of growing awareness about the impacts of conventional agriculture on the environment, effects of climate change and drive for healthier living. All this has prompted a heightened interest in exploring sources of food that are both nutritious and environmentally sustainable. Some of these new food sources are explored in a recent FAO publication entitled, Thinking about the future of food safety - a foresight report. One food source that has garnered steady attention recently – from media, consumers, national agencies to private sector – is edible insects. This document is an author manuscript version of article...
2022