Food safety

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.

Promoting a World Food Safety Day (7 June) for UNGA

14 September --- The Joint FAO/WHO Codex secretariat launched a video campaign to express support for establishing a UN day dedicated to food safety. The campaign will largely take place on Twitter and is open to anyone interested in seeing the draft resolution for consideration at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York. If adopted, a World Food Safety Day will be celebrated on 7 June every year.

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.

Understanding the scope of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning


Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is one of the most common food-borne illnesses related to seafood consumption. CFP is caused by the consumption of fish that have become toxic from feeding on toxic dinoflagellates, a form of plankton. While CFP has been known for centuries, its true incidence remains unclear, and in addition to climate change, the globalization of trade might also contribute to the spread of CFP.