GLOBAL – The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022–2030, which was approved by Member States during the 75th World Health Assembly Session through Resolution WHA75 (22).

The launch represents a significant accomplishment in WHO’s efforts to advance health, ensure global security, and protect the vulnerable.

Every year, one in ten people globally fall ill due to foodborne diseases. Contaminated food can cause over 200 diseases, and the magnitude of public health burden is comparable to malaria or HIV AIDS, according to WHO.

Children under five are at higher risk, as one in six deaths from diarrhoea are caused by unsafe food.

A step toward a safer and healthier world, the new WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety also strengthens cross-sectoral cooperation and novel public health strategies.

The goal of the Global Food Safety Strategy is to support Member States in their efforts to prioritize, plan, implement, monitor, and regularly evaluate actions aimed at reducing the burden of foodborne diseases (FBD) by fostering international cooperation and continuously improving food safety systems.

The Strategy’s vision is that all people, everywhere, consume safe and healthy food so as to reduce the burden of FBDs.

It gives stakeholders the tools they need to strengthen their national food safety systems and collaborate with partners around the world.

The seventy-third World Health Assembly adopted Resolution 73.5, titled “Strengthening efforts on food safety,” in 2020.

In the resolution, Member States asked WHO to revise its global strategy for food safety to address new and emerging challenges, take into account new technological advancements, and embrace creative methods for enhancing food safety systems.

With the guidance of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Food Safety: Safer food for greater health, the WHO Secretariat has created a WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety in response to this request.

The current strategy takes into account feedback from a thorough consultation process that included Member States and governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and other intergovernmental organizations, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, private sector entities, and people working in public health and food safety.

This updated WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022-2030 addresses new and developing issues, takes advantage of modern technology, and proposes creative methods for enhancing food safety systems.

This updated WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022-2030 addresses new and developing issues, takes advantage of modern technology, and proposes creative methods for enhancing food safety systems.

The policy also establishes specific goals and intends to reduce the incidence of foodborne diarrheal illnesses, which mostly affects children under the age of five and other vulnerable populations, by 40%.

It further aims to have 100% operational coordination systems to handle foodborne incidents and improved laboratory capacity for foodborne illness surveillance.

Strategic priorities

The strategy has identified five interlinked and mutually reinforcing strategic priorities with respective strategic objectives.

It intends to develop proactive, forward-looking, evidence-based, people-centered, and cost-effective food safety systems with coordinated governance and suitable infrastructures using the five stated strategic priorities and corresponding strategic objectives.

The strategic priorities include strengthening national food control systems; identifying and responding to food safety challenges resulting from global changes and food systems transformation and improving the use of food chain information, scientific evidence and risk assessment in making risk management decisions.

They also involve strengthening stakeholder engagement and risk communication, and promoting food safety as an essential component in domestic, regional and international food trade.

In order to assist Member States in implementing the plan throughout the period of 2022–2030, WHO and the members of the Technical Advisory Group on Food Safety are developing tools to supplement the current resources from WHO, FAO, and other organizations.

The strategy’s execution depends heavily on cooperation between various sectors and stakeholders, and a shared coordination framework links the implementation plan of the strategy with the FAO’s strategic priorities for food safety.

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