Food

Specialists ready for second meeting on WHO food safety strategy

Experts are to meet for the second time later this month to work on the WHO’s global strategy for food safety.

The World Health Organization (WHO) created a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on food safety that met virtually from Feb. 8 to 10 and agreed on structure of the new strategy, drivers of change for the future of food safety, and proposed five priorities.

The second TAG remote event on April 19, 22, and 23 will follow up on points from the first meeting, discuss comments on the draft WHO food safety strategy ,and prepare for the public web-based and member states consultations in mid-May. Attendance is restricted to members of the advisory group and invited observers.

Objectives are to agree on the main content of the strategy, on the roles of WHO and member states in implementing it; to suggest possible monitoring and evaluation methods for the plan; and to agree on whether the strategy should set indicators and targets and propose examples.

An update to the 2002 strategy will address current and emerging challenges, incorporating new technologies and innovative strategies for strengthening food safety systems. It is expected to be published in 2022.

TAG members include William R. Jones at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Annie Locas from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Sally Johnston, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand; Sunil Bakshi at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, and Anne Brisabois, of the French Agency for Food, Environmental, Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES).

Call for One Health and water data and experts
Meanwhile, WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations have issued a call for experts who can contribute to work assessing the safety and quality of water used in the production of fishery and/or dairy products.

The two agencies are also asking governments, industry, academia, consumer groups, laboratories, and other organizations and individuals to submit data and information to support the work.

Three meetings on the topic were already held in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with the latter covering fresh produce. The fourth will be virtual from June 14 to July 2, 2021. Deadline of the call for experts is April 16 and May 31 for the data.

Finally, FAO, WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are looking for people to serve as experts on the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP).

The four agencies agreed to establish the OHHLEP to assist them in supporting governments as part of One Health collaboration.

Desired experts include those with experience in emerging infectious diseases and zoonoses, food systems and links with health, infectious disease epidemiology, prevention and control and social, economic and behavioral sciences.

OHHLEP experts will be engaged for two years and be eligible for reappointment but will not be paid. They must serve in their individual expert capacity. To register an interest find out more information here before April 16.

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