‘Shared responsibility’ to stop 420,000 needless deaths from tainted food each year, UN, world leaders warn

World Bank/Arne Hoel Tomato stand in market near Ramallah’s main mosque.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Each year, food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals cause more than 600 million people to fall ill, and 420,000 to die worldwide, prompting a call from world leaders on Tuesday for greater international cooperation to make the food chain safer.

On Tuesday, the First International Food Safety Conference, in Addis Ababa – organized by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO) World Trade Organization (WTO) and the African Union (AU) – shone a light on the need to root out dangerous food, which is also hampering progress towards sustainable development everywhere.

“Safeguarding our food is a shared responsibility. We must all play our part”, said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at the Conference. “We must work together to scale up food safety in national and international political agendas.”

Unsafe food-related illness overloads healthcare systems and damages economies, trade and tourism. Moreover, the impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies around $95 billion in lost productivity each year.

“There is no food security without food safety,” underlined the FAO chief, calling the conference “a great opportunity for the international community to strengthen political commitments and engage in key actions”.

Food safety must be a paramount goal at every stage of the food chain, from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, preparation and consumption, conference participants stressed.

“Food should be a source of nourishment and enjoyment, not a cause of disease or death”, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, who pointed out that although unsafe food is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually, it has “not received the political attention it deserves”.

“Ensuring people have access to safe food takes sustained investment in stronger regulations, laboratories, surveillance and monitoring”, he continued, adding: “In our globalized world, food safety is everyone’s issue.”

For his part, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo flagged food safety as “a central element of public health” which will be “crucial in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”.

“Trade is an important force to lift people out of poverty… when we reconvene in Geneva in April we will consider these issues in more depth,” he added, referring to a follow-up event billed as the International Forum on Food Safety and Trade, due to take place in Geneva.

The current and forthcoming meetings are expected to galvanize support and lead to actions in key areas that are strategic for the future of food safety.

Meanwhile, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, underscored that the UN-AU partnership has been “longstanding and strategic,” calling the food safety conference “a demonstration of this partnership”.

The conference aims to identify key actions to ensure safe food and a strengthened commitment to scale up food safety in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Some 130 countries are participating in the two-day conference, including ministers of agriculture, health, and trade; scientific experts; partner agencies; civil society organizations; and the private sector.

Food systems are becoming ever more complex and interlinked, blurring regulatory responsibility lines and requiring concerted international action.While technological advances, digitalization and processing methods provide opportunities to enhance food safety while improving nutrition, livelihoods and trade, climate change, globalized food production and a growing global population pose new challenges to food safety.

Food safety systems must also keep pace with food production and consumption. This requires coordinated approaches for regulatory legislation and disease surveillance and food monitoring programmes that are supported by information technologies, shared information and training.                    

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Three tips for breaking through bias and seeing evidence more clearly

Indonesia has a plan to deal with its plastic waste problem

Mental health during COVID-19 outbreak: who takes care of health professionals?

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

‘Historic’ new Syria talks should focus on relief for war-weary civilians, says UN negotiator

Brexit: new European Parliament reaffirms wholehearted support for EU position

Scientists can lead the fight against fake news

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

New research reveals the true extent of corruption in fisheries

New tech infrastructure will help economies recover after COVID-19

Pride in health care during Pride Month: Are we ready for a dignified health care for LGBTQI+ patients?

Survivors of ISIL terror in Iraq want justice, not revenge, says head of UN investigation team

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

MEPs propose more transparent legislative drafting and use of allowances

How fintech is setting Southeast Asia’s SMEs free

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela

Why press freedom should be at the top of everyone’s agenda

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

Why the UN is investigating poverty in the United Kingdom

Access to health in the developped and developing world

State aid: Commission approves Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in coronavirus outbreak

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice to protect judges from political control

Mobile technology facilitating social distance in the middle of a pandemic

Sydney is choking on record levels of smog – and the bushfire season is just getting started

Smokers who quit one month before surgery reap benefits: UN health agency

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2015: Why interns should matter to business

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

EU growth in 2015 to be again sluggish; Can the Juncker Commission fight this out?

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

Is Haiti better prepared for disasters, nine years on from the 2010 earthquake?

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

Over $39 million earmarked by UN-backed fund to combat effects of climate change in Nepal

Digitalization is changing banking – These 3 trends will help shape its future

Europe is ready to engage, von der Leyen tells annual EU Ambassadors’ Conference

Coronavirus: EU Civil Protection Mechanism activated for the repatriation of EU citizens

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

Teenagers’ career expectations narrowing to limited range of jobs, OECD PISA report finds

State aid: Commission approves €30 million Estonian measure to support Nordica in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

UN spotlights digitization of audiovisual archives to preserve human history on World Day

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Islamophobia is driving more US Muslims to become politically engaged, suggests report

AIDEX 2015: Humanitarian Hero Award Winner Announced

New UN-supported farming app is cream of crop in tackling Sahel pest

State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

We have solutions to crime. We just need to scale them

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s