Mercados y Comercio

No. 51 Improving food safety to foster trade

Year of publication2023
AbstractFood safety measures are essential to protect the health of consumers and to promote confidence in international markets. It is therefore crucial to ensure that food safety measures and controls are in place to protect public health while avoiding unnecessary costs and barriers to trade. To ensure that food reaches consumers safely while trade is facilitated, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have adopted the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). In particular, the SPS Agreement strongly encourages WTO members to use international standards, guidelines and recommendations, and identifies the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission as the relevant international standard-setting body for food safety. With this in mind, this policy brief discusses the links between trade and food safety, explores ideas for improving food safety while promoting trade, suggests ways forward, and highlights the critical role that FAO can play. More specifically, the brief suggests that in order to facilitate trade and ensure safe food for all at all times, countries need to take further steps to further improve food safety at the national, regional and international levels, and to ensure the proper application and harmonization of food standards. In this regard, investment in food safety is essential, and capacity-building support from FAO and other international organisations is key.
Available inEnglish
Product typeJournal; magazine; bulletin
SeriesTrade Policy Briefs
ISSNISSN 2707-2290
Areas of workTrade Policy and Partnerships
Keywordsfood safety; food systems; trade policies ;international trade standards; agreements