Food Safety. On June 7, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the third edition of World Food Safety Day. The WHO presented a manual for the assessment of foodborne diseases, which aims to help countries strengthen their national infrastructure to detect weaknesses in their food safety systems. It also provides recommendations to prevent the transmission of diseases such as Escherichia coli or salmonella. Both international organizations will work to promote the implementation of these recommendations in the countries of the region in the medium term.
At the meeting, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, pointed out that the manual will be a tool for countries to assist them in gathering data that can be useful in developing effective policy measures for food safety control. The WHO and FAO members also agree that it is necessary to focus on scientific innovation in this area, so that it can be applied throughout the food supply chain to detect and prevent the spread of foodborne diseases.
The manual presented by the organizations provides guidelines for carrying out the process of assessing the burden of diseases caused by microbiological agents that can be transmitted by food. Its objective is to homogenize the methodologies for measuring and estimating diseases in the different member countries, with the understanding that by analyzing each case under the same criteria, it is easier to classify the relevance of foodborne diseases according to their overall impact on the public health of the population.
WHO and FAO will promote the implementation of the recommendations included in the manual at the regional level, especially through assessments on the presence of microorganisms harmful to health in food. This will serve as a first step for these countries to develop innovative public policies in the field of food safety in the medium term. The WHO has also reaffirmed its commitment to bring together epidemiological specialists to produce a global report analyzing the burden of foodborne diseases in order to identify risks to global food safety.