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Enhancing INFOSAN in Asia and Implementation of Regional Food Safety Strategies

Meeting Report. Seoul, Republic of Korea, 27-30 November 2012












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    Document
    The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) - Progress Report 2004-2010 2011
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    In May 2010, the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a resolution on Advancing Food Safety Initiatives re-enforcing the importance of INFOSAN. The resolution encourages participation of all Member States in INFOSAN and its related activities. It calls for further development of INFOSAN and encourages communication and technical exchange of risk assessments and best practices among Network members. It also supports the strengthening of the emergency functions of INFOSAN, recognizing the Network a s a critical component of WHO’s preventive and emergency operations related to food safety. This progress report provides an overview of INFOSAN by describing why and how it was formed and its aims and objectives. In addition, the various roles and responsibilities of Network members are explained and a summary of both the emergency and non-emergency functions of INFOSAN is included. Finally, some of the key challenges faced by the Network are expressed, and future directions addressed.
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    INFOSAN Activity Report, 2011-2012 2013
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    The global nature and growing complexity of the food chain means that risks posed by unsafe foods have the potential to quickly evolve from a local problem to an international incident at an increasingly rapid pace. Ensuring food safety is therefore an important component to consider in the broader context of achieving public health security around the world. While international trade of foods brings many benefits to consumers and contributes significantly to economic development, new challenges are constantly presented to food safety authorities around the world. Experience in the recent past demonstrates that with the increased volume of foods traded globally, comes an increased risk of the spread of foodborne pathogens and contaminants across national borders. This necessitates more efficient sharing of food safety information among national food safety authorities from different countries. The need to build closer links among food safety authorities internationally is well recogniz ed by FAO and WHO. Since 2004, the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) has provided an important platform for the rapid exchange of information in the case of food safety crises and for sharing data on both recurrent and emerging food safety issues. It is therefore imperative that we continue to work towards strengthening INFOSAN through active participation and exchange of information during international food safety emergencies.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    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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