The chief scientists of FAO and WHO highlighted the position of science in retaining meals secure whereas stressing the significance of expertise throughout a webinar earlier this week.
The digital occasion was organized by the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations (FAO) and World Well being Group (WHO) to mark the third annual World Meals Security Day.
FAO Director Common QU Dongyu and WHO Director Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave video messages on the session that greater than 600 folks attended.
“No person ought to die from consuming meals. These are preventable deaths. When meals security is improved we cut back starvation, malnutrition and toddler mortality. Youngsters miss fewer days in school, adults improve their productiveness, and the pressure on well being programs is lowered,” mentioned Ghebreyesus.
Understanding danger and hazards
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO, mentioned science is central to meals security.
“It is very important perceive the character and stage of hazards within the meals chain as a result of your interventions to make sure meals security rely on understanding, which could have probably the most impression in lowering the chance,” she mentioned.
“For instance, microbiological hazards can multiply or diminish and the dangers to shoppers will depend on how a lot publicity there may be by the point the meals reaches the purpose of consumption. In distinction, ranges of chemical hazards typically stay fixed as soon as launched into the meals.
“One of many priorities for WHO is to assist member states make evidence-informed choices on danger administration. Scientific recommendation offered by the WHO and FAO to Codex is essential for the event of meals security worldwide requirements.”
Swaminathan mentioned when addressing any problem you will need to perceive what it’s, the place it’s and the burden of the issue.
“Not all nations have good knowledge programs to seize this so one among our focuses has been on strengthening well being info and knowledge programs so nations can begin capturing knowledge on what is going on to their populations. We then want to know the character of the dangers and the place contamination could also be taking place,” she mentioned.
Function of expertise emphasised
Complete genome sequencing must be used extra broadly in meals security, in line with Swaminathan.
“We all know by sequencing the contaminant and importing the sequences into public databases, scientists all over the world can be in a greater place to have the ability to observe and estimate which pathogens are inflicting issues the place and observe the origins of a few of these contaminants. WGS has change into extra broadly out there but it surely’s nonetheless restricted in lots of nations. One of many classes from the pandemic is we have to put money into laboratory science, coaching bioinformatics specialists and molecular biology,” she mentioned.
“We want express targets and indicators to measure progress as a result of everyone knows what can’t be measured can’t be managed and measuring efficiency, outcomes and impression is essential for any program. These indicators assist nations after they do self-assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses in addition to measure enhancements.”
Ismahane Elouafi, chief scientist at FAO, talked about the company’s meals security technique which is in growth and the lately printed Microbiological Danger Evaluation Steerage for Meals, which supplies a framework to evaluate the chance of microbiological hazards utilizing completely different strategies.
“There’s an growing position of recent and rising applied sciences in meals manufacturing, post-harvest remedy, processing, packaging and sanitary remedy. One of many main applied sciences we have to use correctly is complete genome sequencing and likewise gene enhancing. WGS permits us to know higher in epidemiological surveillance, meals testing, monitoring and outbreak investigation however we have to do extra. We want insurance policies and regulation to supply a greater atmosphere to make use of these applied sciences to guard us and improve the protection of our meals programs,” Elouafi mentioned.
“We have to use extra synthetic intelligence, blockchain and clever packaging that may guarantee meals is genuine, secure and of excellent high quality from the farm stage to the buyer.
“We’re in an period the place we’ve the power to assemble and analyze huge knowledge and join the various things. We didn’t have that energy 10 years in the past. The final expertise I wish to point out is nanotechnology. We’re in a position to see and alter issues which are very small. Cell-based meat and lab-grown dairy are new applied sciences we have to make investments extra in and put them in perspective and supply with the protection web, the precise insurance policies and the precise connections.”
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