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 Group of the United Nations (FAO) and World Well being Group (WHO) to mark the third annual World Food Safety Day.
FAO Director Normal QU Dongyu and WHO Director Normal Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave video messages on the session that greater than 600 folks attended.
“No person ought to die from consuming food. These are preventable deaths. When food safety is improved we cut back starvation, malnutrition and toddler mortality. Youngsters miss fewer days in school, adults enhance their productiveness, and the pressure on well being methods is lowered,” stated Ghebreyesus.
Understanding threat and hazards
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO, stated science is central to food safety.
“You will need to perceive the character and degree of hazards in the food chain as a result of your interventions to make sure food safety depend upon understanding, which may have essentially the most influence in lowering the danger,” she stated.
“For instance, microbiological hazards can multiply or diminish and the dangers to shoppers is dependent upon how a lot publicity there’s by the point the food reaches the purpose of consumption. In distinction, ranges of chemical hazards usually stay fixed as soon as launched into the food.
“One of the priorities for WHO is to assist member states make evidence-informed choices on threat administration. Scientific recommendation supplied by the WHO and FAO to Codex is vital for the event of food safety worldwide requirements.”
Swaminathan stated when addressing any difficulty it is very important perceive what it’s, the place it’s and the burden of the issue.
“Not all nations have good knowledge methods to seize this so one of our focuses has been on strengthening well being info and knowledge methods so nations can begin capturing knowledge on what is occurring to their populations. We then want to grasp the character of the dangers and the place contamination could also be occurring,” she stated.
Role of technology emphasised
Entire genome sequencing ought to be used extra broadly in food safety, in response to Swaminathan.
“We all know by sequencing the contaminant and importing the sequences into public databases, scientists world wide will probably be in a greater place to have the ability to monitor and estimate which pathogens are inflicting issues the place and monitor the origins of some of these contaminants. WGS has change into extra broadly obtainable but it surely’s nonetheless restricted in many nations. One of the teachings from the pandemic is we have to make investments in laboratory science, coaching bioinformatics specialists and molecular biology,” she stated.
“We want express targets and indicators to measure progress as a result of everyone knows what can’t be measured can’t be managed and measuring efficiency, outcomes and influence is necessary for any program. These indicators assist nations once they do self-assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses in addition to measure enhancements.”
Ismahane Elouafi, chief scientist at FAO, talked about the company’s food safety technique which is in improvement and the lately printed Microbiological Risk Assessment Guidance for Food, which offers a framework to evaluate the danger of microbiological hazards utilizing totally different strategies.
“There may be an growing role of new and rising applied sciences in food manufacturing, post-harvest therapy, processing, packaging and sanitary therapy. One of the key applied sciences we have to use correctly is entire genome sequencing and additionally gene modifying. WGS permits us to grasp higher in epidemiological surveillance, food testing, monitoring and outbreak investigation however we have to do extra. We want insurance policies and regulation to offer a greater surroundings to make use of these applied sciences to guard us and enhance the safety of our food methods,” Elouafi stated.
“We have to use 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 patron.
“We’re in an period the place we now have the flexibility to assemble and analyze large knowledge and join the various things. We didn’t have that energy 10 years in the past. The final technology I wish to point out is nanotechnology. We’re in a position to see and change issues which are very small. Cell-based meat and lab-grown dairy are new applied sciences we have to make investments extra in and put them in perspective and present with the safety internet, the proper insurance policies and the proper connections.”
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