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Terrorist Threats to Foods

Conference Room Document proposed by the World Health Organisation








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    Statistical Information on Food-borne Disease In Europe microbiological and chemical hazards 2002
    Foodborne disease caused by microbiological hazards is a large and growing public health problem. Most countries with systems for reporting cases of foodborne diseases have documented significant increases over the past few decades in the incidence of diseases caused by micro-organisms in food, including Salmonella spp., Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes or E. coli O157 among others. Chemicals are a significant source of foodborne diseases, although effects are often difficult to link with a particular food. Chemical contaminants in food include natural toxicants such as mycotoxins or environmental contaminants such as dioxins, mercury, lead, and radionuclides. Food additives, pesticide and veterinary drugs are widely used too and it is essential to assure that these uses are safe. Surveillance of foodborne disease and food contamination monitoring are essential tools for risk assessment. For this reason main efforts are directed to the development of adequate meth ods of surveillance of foodborne diseases and food contamination monitoring to provide the necessary data for quantitative microbiological and chemical risk assessment. This paper presents both data on foodborne diseases in the European Region and information on chemical contaminants, additives and residues in foods that may have an adverse impact in health. Future directions to prevent both microbiological and chemical hazards are discussed.
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    Integrated approaches to the management of food safety throughout the food chain 2002
    Most countries with systems for recording foodborne disease have reported significant increases in the incidence of diseases caused by pathogenic micro-organisms in food over the past few decades. As many as one person in three in industrialized countries may be affected by foodborne illness each year and the situation in most other countries is probably even worse. Apart from the deaths and human suffering caused by foodborne disease, the economic consequences are enormous, running into billion s of dollars in some countries. In Europe bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, "Mad cow disease") and contamination of food with dioxins led consumers to lose confidence in the safety of foods on the market, with severe economic consequences. In many cases, the origins of food safety problems can be traced back to contamination of animal feed or other factors in the early parts of the food chain, an area which until fairly recently had received scant attention from those responsible for food s afety.
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    Informing resilience building: FAO’s Surveillance Evaluation Tool (SET) Biothreat Detection Module will help assess national capacities to detect agro-terrorism and agro-crime 2021
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    Attacks using animal pathogens can have devastating socioeconomic, public health, and national security consequences. The livestock sector has some inherent vulnerabilities which put it at risk to the deliberate or accidental spread of disease. The growing concern of countries about the risks of agro-terrorism and agro-crime has led to efforts to prepare against potential attacks. One recent international effort is the launch of a joint OIE, FAO, and INTERPOL project in 2019 to build resilience against agro-terrorism and agro-crime targeting animal health with the financial support of the Weapons Threat Reduction Programme of Global Affairs Canada. Given the importance of strong animal health surveillance systems for the early and effective response to agro-terrorism and agro-crime, the project will use the FAO Surveillance Evaluation Tool (SET) and its new Biothreat Detection Module to evaluate beneficiary countries’ capacities to detect criminal or terrorist animal health events. This paper presents the development of the new SET Biothreat Detection Module and how it will be used to evaluate surveillance for agro-terrorism and agro-crime animal disease threats. The module will be piloted in early 2021 and, once finalized, will be used by beneficiary countries of the joint OIE-FAO-INTERPOL project. Results from evaluations using SET and its Biothreat Detection Module are expected to provide a baseline from which countries can build targeted capacity for animal disease surveillance including early detection and investigation of potential terrorist or criminal events involving zoonotic and non-zoonotic animal pathogens.

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