Food safety

42nd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, 8-12 July 2019


The 42nd Session of Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC42) started on 8 July in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO Director-General highlighted in his opening remarks that food is fundamental to human health, while recognizing that unhealthy diets, unsafe food and malnutrition in all its form account for about one third of all deaths globally. A vital role of Codex Alimentarius Commission was also acknowledged in protecting the health of consumers and in ensuring fair practices in the food trade.

World Food Safety Day - 7 June 2019


Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, the first-ever World Food Safety Day was widely celebrated around the globe on 7 June. It aimed to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe under this year's theme, " Food Safety, everyone's business ".

Mainstreaming food safety on the global health agenda


International Forum on Food Safety and Trade was held on 23-24 April in Geneva, Switzerland at the kind invitation of the World Trade Organization, gathering over 600 policy makers and stakeholders engaged in food safety. The Forum addressed the trade-related aspects and challenges of food safety, as well as explored the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technological change and digitalization.


The First International Food Safety Conference was held on 12-13 February in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia at the kind invitation of the African Union Commission, gathering over 500 policy makers and stakeholders engaged in food safety. The need for scaling up food safety at the highest political level was highlighted to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WHO and FAO are organizing a second event, “International Forum on Food Safety and Trade”, on 23-24 April 2019 in Geneva, in collaboration with the World Trade Organization.

Shaping the Future of Food Safety

WHO and FAO are organizing a conference on food safety on 12-13 February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the African Union. This conference aims to bring together Ministers of Health, Ministers of Agriculture, leading regulatory and scientific experts, other partners to discuss priorities on food safety strategies and approaches that can be aligned across sectors and borders. After this conference, WHO and FAO are organizing the second conference, "International Forum on Food Safety and Trade", on 23-24 April 2019 in Geneva, in collaboration with the World Trade Organization.

National capacity building on foodborne disease surveillance and response

WHO/ C.Savelli

Strengthening national capacity for foodborne disease outbreak response is essential. WHO conducted a training course on 15-19 October 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak detection, including listeriosis and foodborne antimicrobial resistance. Representatives from seven countries in Africa practiced epidemiology and laboratory techniques towards building stronger national foodborne surveillance system.

64 food safety events communicated through INFOSAN globally this year

4 October --- Since January 2018, INFOSAN Secretariat handled 64 food safety events. This includes 32 events involving 141 WHO Member States in the third quarter alone. Among these was a protracted outbreak of Listeriosis, reported across five countries from Europe and linked to frozen vegetable products distributed to over 120 countries. In addition, 13 countries from the Eastern Mediterranean participated in a training workshop in Tunisia and the INFOSAN Emergency Contact Points and National IHR Focal Points from 12 countries took part in an online simulation exercise in the Americas.

WHO translate complex food safety topics into clear information

In order to facilitate the implementation of the WHO guidance and recommendations in countries, WHO has initiated a new Series “Food Safety Digest” to translate complex technical information from scientific assessments into materials accessible to non- experts in food safety.

The three first editions of the new Series address the health risk of certain contaminants in food, so-called mycotoxins, for which the health risk was recently re-evaluated by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). The Digests are available in all six UN-languages.

Antimicrobial resistance from the food chain: WHO message to consumers


Not many consumers understand the links between antimicrobial resistance and food. The WHO educational brochure “Did you know that superbugs can be found in food” was developed to assist countries in promoting understanding of the issue, including the links between the health of humans, animals and environment (One Health). This brochure conveys the WHO message to consumers to protect their health and have a voice to push for a safer and sustainable food supply.