Report: First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12-13 February 2019

Transforming knowledge into action for people, economies and environment

About 650 participants from some 130 countries were witnessing a strong determination to scale up food safety in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12-13 February 2019, which was organized by the United Nations to discuss the future of food safety and how to best transform knowledge into action for people, economies and environment Priorities were discussed so that food safety strategies and approaches can be aligned across sectors and borders, reinforcing efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and supporting the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.

Several key areas were identified where knowledge must be transformed into action:

  • Investment in food safety pays dividends. Achieving success needs intersectoral participation;
  • Climate impacts food safety. Vigilance is required in maintaining food safety in the face of change;
  • Digitalization and other innovations can transform how we identify, assess and manage food safety risks. We must ensure equitable access of these tools by developing countries;
  • Strong and viable food systems require transparency, collaboration and communication. Consumers must be engaged.
  • There is no food security without food safety.
  • In a world of accelerating changes, the need for food to be safe remains a constant imperative.
  • And, in an increasingly complex food system, there must be greater attention to transparency, information sharing and collaboration.
  • Stakeholders from across the food chain share the responsibility for assuring that food is safe. Everyone has a role to play in food safety.
  • With widespread collaboration and the contributions of all actors in the food supply chain we can seek to improve food safety.
  • This is a pivotal moment in which international attention, key actions and strategies can make a difference in the lives of many.
  • A continued participation and dedication to improve food safety will pay off – improving human health and livelihoods, strengthening economies and protecting the planet.

In a second meeting at the FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade, Geneva, Switzerland, 23-24 April 2019, the trade-related aspects and challenges of food safety will be addressed. The two meetings will result in a high-level statement advocating for increased and better coordinated collaboration and support to improve food safety globally.


FAO: Food Safety and Quality Unit, Rome, Italy, food-quality [at] fao [dot] org
WHO: Food Safety and Zoonoses Department, Geneva, Switzerland, foodsafety [at] who [dot] int

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