Food Safety: A Global Concern

Food safety has been identified at domestic, regional and international levels as a public health priority, as unsafe food causes illness in millions of people every year and many deaths. According to the World Health Organisation, serious outbreaks of foodborne disease have been documented on every continent in the past decade and in many countries rates of related illnesses are increasing significantly. Key global food safety concerns include the spread of microbiological hazards (including bacteria such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli, e. coli); chemical food contaminants; assessments of new food technologies (such as genetically modified food); and strong food safety systems in most countries to ensure a safe global food chain.

Read about the WHO’s 10 facts and 5 Keys to food safety here.

Work continues around the world to minimize health risks from farm to table, to prevent outbreaks and to promote food safety, which also will safeguard trade and support economic development. This global issue requires a multi-discliplinary and collaborative approach to developing responses effective at a domestic, regional and international levels.

A Global Response

Improved food safety standards, international trade and market integration are all required to address critical issues arising from the globalization of the food supply. In the area of food safety capacity building, this resulted in the establishment of the multistakeholder Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), facilitated by the World Bank. This collaboration across the public, private and service provider sectors recognizes that all stakeholders have important roles to play in improving global food safety systems and supporting better access to domestic and global food markets.

As countries increase their demand for food ingredients and raw materials globally, the need to safeguard public health while promoting food security, international trade and economic development throughout the entire value chain must be met. The GFSP will respond to operational and country demands associated with these complex interrelated areas while building on extensive work undertaken within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and other organizations.

At the first annual GFSP Conference in December 2012, it was announced that the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) would lead an initiative by academia and other partners to identify gaps in food safety curricula, build capacity, and establish and harmonize core competencies at the university and graduate levels. This is the Global Food Safety Curricula Initiative (GFSCI).

Learn More About Global Food Safety

Global Food Safety impacts public health, international trade and economic development. As a result, diverse organizations in both the public and private sectors are devoting time and resources to the varied issues associated with it: