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Regional Food Safety Conference for Asia and the Pacific – Conference report, 17, 19, 24 and 26 November 2020










FAO. 2021. Regional Food Safety Conference for Asia and the Pacific - Conference report, 17, 19, 24 and 26 November 2020. Bangkok.




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    Feeding an expected global population of 9 billion by 2050 is a daunting challenge that is engaging hundreds of millions of farmers, food processors, traders, researchers, technical experts, and leaders the world over. Fish and other aquatic products from aquaculture can and will play a major role in meeting the dietary demands of all people, while also meeting the food security needs of the poorest. To realize the maximum contributions of the aquaculture sector toward achieving the targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030, coordinated and accelerated actions are required. Not only must these actions increase sustainable production, but also address the broader value chain, markets, and decent employment. Recognizing the critical importance of aquaculture, and the need to exchange and discuss reliable information to further enhance its contribution to sustainable development, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at the request of its Members, collaborated with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, to organize the Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium +20 (GCA +20), 22–25 September 2021, in Shanghai, the People's Republic of China. Under the theme “Aquaculture for food and sustainable development”, the GCA +20 aimed to bring stakeholders from government, business, academia, and civil society together to identify the policy and technology innovations, investment opportunities and fruitful areas of cooperation in aquaculture for food and sustainable development. A key output from the GCA +20 – the Shanghai Declaration on Aquaculture for Food and Sustainable Development – highlights the principles and strategic pathways to maximize sustainable aquaculture in achieving the SDGs, with a special focus on “Leaving no one behind”.
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    Webinar report: World Food Safety Day 2020 – Food safety in the “new normal” 2020
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    In advance of the World Food Safety Day, four international organizations, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), jointly organized a webinar on 3 June 2020 and discussed what the “new normal”, will bring to the area of food safety in Asia and the Pacific. Nearly 1 000 people joined the webinar. While during the “new normal”, food safety has benefitted from an increased awareness on good practices of personal hygiene, in the future, regulatory frameworks that have a long-term vision and that will ensure consumers’ protection will need to be put in place. In order to facilitate access to safe foods to all, the implementation of regulations will need to be delegated to the industry sector, and the active and informed participation of the consumers will be more critical than ever. Furthermore, recognizing responsibilities and integrating them with those of other stakeholders' could be a key approach to tackle emerging food safety issues. The next efforts would optimally focus on the provision of a good and constant education and communication to the different food safety stakeholders, with the theme tagline of the World Food Safety Day, “food safety, everyone’s business”.
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    INFOSAN Activity report, 2020–2021 2023
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    This INFOSAN Activity Report provides an overview of the major events, activities, and information products relating to INFOSAN in 2020/2021. Aiming to prevent the international spread of contaminated food and foodborne diseases through international food trade, International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) has been set by FAO and WHO for connecting national authorities worldwide to strengthen national and international food safety systems. Since its launch in 2004, INFOSAN has continued to grow and develop forging functional links with regional food safety networks and initiatives, and building on a strong global reputation for efficiency and effectiveness in the context of international food safety emergency response. During the 2020/2021 biennium, the INFOSAN Secretariat responded to 375 international food safety events representing the highest number of incidents since the launch of the Network, and nearly double the number of events responded to during the last biennium (162 incidents in the 2018/2019 biennium). The increase in activity could be attributed to the increased awareness of food safety risks, capacity-building activities delivered by the INFOSAN Secretariat, increased reporting of food safety issues, webinars and workshops with FAO and WHO Member States, increased capacity at the INFOSAN Secretariat, and stronger collaboration with key partners. Biological hazards were responsible for the largest number of INFOSAN events, the most common of which was Salmonella spp. The rest of the incidents involved undeclared allergens, physical hazards, chemical hazards, and hazards that remained unidentified. The most implicated food categories were fish and other seafood, followed by milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, and snacks & desserts. The majority of the 375 events involved Member States in the European Region, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Western Pacific Region, the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and the South-East Asia Region. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the INFOSAN Secretariat played an important role in communicating information and updates on COVID-19 and food safety to its members. This has been achieved by launching a call for questions on food safety and COVID-19, followed by a series of webinars for INFOSAN members to introduce the FAO/WHO guidance documents on food safety and COVID-19.

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