The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is preparing a new food safety strategy that will provide advice on managing unforeseen global challenges and crises that may impact the food supply. “Member states have tasked FAO with drafting a new food safety strategy to be prepared to act on the food safety challenges of today and tomorrow,” says Markus Lipp, Ph.D., senior food safety and quality officer for the FAO. “The new FAO food safety strategy will need to call to action all stakeholders in the food supply chains to do their individual parts to help ensure that all food for everyone is safe. Food safety is everyone’s business.”
The new strategy would act as a streamlined international guidance, policy, and advocacy platform to encourage increased investments and integration of food safety into the development of sustainable food systems, food security, and nutrition policies, as well as agriculture development strategies.
Delegations at the 27th Committee on Agriculture, which has more than 100 member nations, announced they will support the development of this new strategy. Most urged the FAO to ensure alignment of the strategy with the work of the World Health Organization and Codex Alimentarius. “In view of the increasing global importance of Codex standards, Switzerland strongly recommends FAO to ensure that the new FAO Food Safety Strategy clearly articulates FAO’s responsibility to support Codex standard setting procedure in order to ensure that Codex standards are based on science,” said the delegation from Switzerland.
“A new food safety strategy should further address health issues such as antimicrobial resistance, emerging zoonotic diseases, climate change, agricultural intensification, new technologies, innovation, food fraud, digitalization of food systems and circular economies,” Lipp says. “The COVID-19 pandemic also demonstrates the increased relevance of food safety in emergency food assistance and humanitarian food aid. A new food safety strategy will align with new developments in food systems and provide advice on managing unforeseen global challenges and crises that may affect the food supply.”
FAO aims to present its members with the new food safety strategy by 2022, the next scheduled meeting of the committee.