The chief scientists of FAO and WHO highlighted the role of science in holding food protected whereas stressing the significance of technology throughout a webinar earlier this week.
The digital occasion was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to mark the third annual World Food Safety Day.
FAO Director General QU Dongyu and WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave video messages on the session that greater than 600 folks attended.
“Nobody should die from eating food. These are preventable deaths. When food safety is improved we reduce hunger, malnutrition and infant mortality. Children miss fewer days at school, adults increase their productivity, and the strain on health systems is reduced,” stated Ghebreyesus.
Understanding danger and hazards
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO, stated science is central to food safety.
“It is important to understand the nature and level of hazards in the food chain because your interventions to ensure food safety depend on understanding, which will have the most impact in reducing the risk,” she stated.
“For instance, microbiological hazards can multiply or diminish and the dangers to shoppers will depend on how a lot publicity there may be by the point the food reaches the purpose of consumption. In distinction, ranges of chemical hazards typically stay fixed as soon as launched into the food.
“One of the priorities for WHO is to help member states make evidence-informed decisions on risk management. Scientific advice provided by the WHO and FAO to Codex is critical for the development of food safety international standards.”
Swaminathan stated when addressing any subject you will need to perceive what it’s, the place it’s and the burden of the issue.
“Not all countries have good data systems to capture this so one of our focuses has been on strengthening health information and data systems so countries can start capturing data on what is happening to their populations. We then need to understand the nature of the risks and where contamination may be happening,” she stated.
Role of technology emphasised
Whole genome sequencing must be used extra broadly in food safety, in line with Swaminathan.
“We know by sequencing the contaminant and uploading the sequences into public databases, scientists around the world will be in a better position to be able to track and estimate which pathogens are causing problems where and track the origins of some of these contaminants. WGS has become more widely available but it’s still limited in many countries. One of the lessons from the pandemic is we need to invest in laboratory science, training bioinformatics experts and molecular biology,” she stated.
“We need explicit targets and indicators to measure progress because we all know what cannot be measured cannot be managed and measuring performance, results and impact is important for any program. These indicators help countries when they do self-assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as measure improvements.”
Ismahane Elouafi, chief scientist at FAO, talked about the company’s food safety technique which is in growth and the just lately revealed Microbiological Risk Assessment Guidance for Food, which offers a framework to evaluate the danger of microbiological hazards utilizing totally different strategies.
“There is an increasing role of new and emerging technologies in food production, post-harvest treatment, processing, packaging and sanitary treatment. One of the major technologies we need to use properly is whole genome sequencing and also gene editing. WGS allows us to understand better in epidemiological surveillance, food testing, monitoring and outbreak investigation but we need to do more. We need policies and regulation to provide a better environment to use those technologies to protect us and increase the safety of our food systems,” Elouafi stated.
“We want to make use of extra synthetic intelligence, blockchain and clever packaging that may guarantee food is genuine, protected and of good high quality from the farm degree to the buyer.
“We are in an era where we have the ability to gather and analyze big data and connect the different things. We didn’t have that power 10 years ago. The last technology I want to mention is nanotechnology. We are able to see and change things that are very small. Cell-based meat and lab-grown dairy are new technologies we need to invest more in and put them in perspective and provide with the safety net, the right policies and the right connections.”
(To join a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)