Food safety saves lives

©FAO/Eduardo Calix


With some 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses every year, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies around the world. Ensuring food safety is a public health priority and an essential step to achieving food security.

As an international food standard-setting body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) adopts food safety and quality standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect consumer health and facilitate fair practices in the food trade.

World Food Safety Day 2024 is an opportunity to brush up your knowledge on the topic with a selection of FAO publications.

How Honduras handled the unexpected. Codex case study
When Honduran melons were identified as the source of a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak in 2021, the Honduran authorities used Codex texts to help them manage the situation, identify the source of the contamination and implement an action plan that would see a quick conclusion to the outbreak. The incident is regarded in food safety circles as an exemplar of how to manage a food safety alert, which was facilitated by the FAO/WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN). 

Safe food for everyone – FAO's work on food safety: science, standards and good practices
This publication addresses the work of FAO and its partners in ensuring food is safe for all. Our intention is to develop, deploy and communicate the latest science; support good governance; facilitate food safety emergency prevention and response; and keep a close watch on both future opportunities and the risks that may accompany them. A device-friendly format is also available.

Food safety implications from the use of environmental inhibitors in agrifood systems
This report offers an overview of how different regulatory frameworks worldwide deal with environmental inhibitors, highlighting at the same time the lack of global harmonization in defining and categorizing these substances.

FAO strategic priorities for food safety within the FAO Strategic Framework 2022–2031
These Strategic Priorities are articulated around four interconnected Strategic Outcomes focused on governance, scientific advice, strengthening national food control systems and fostering public–private partnerships along the food chain. They result from an iterative consultative process led by FAO with its Members and international partner organizations, including, notably WHO.

Thinking about the future of food safety – A foresight report
This publication provides an overview of major global drivers and trends and their implications for food safety and agrifood systems, including climate change, changing consumer behaviour and preferences, new food sources and production systems, technological advances, microbiome, circular economy and food fraud. A device-friendly format is also available.

Codex Alimentarius Commission procedural manual 
This edition contains an amended section on commodity standards dealing with non-retail containers. It introduces new text regarding criteria and procedural guidelines for Codex committees and ad hoc intergovernmental taskforces working by correspondence.




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