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Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) World Health Organisation (WHO)

International, regional, subregional and national cooperation in food safety in Africa

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO)

FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for Africa
Harare, Zimbabwe

3-6 October 2005

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Many African countries do not have adequate food security, resulting in a situation where at least 60% of the food supply is imported to supplement local production. Guaranteeing the safety of both imported and locally produced food begins on the farm and follows through the entire food chain until meals are on the table. This important task of assuring food safety requires a multidisciplinary approach including agricultural production, food science and technology, public health, toxicology, microbiology, chemistry and food law, among others. The pressure of growing human populations has also resulted in the globalization of food trade, which is associated with a substantial increase in food production and movement of food through international trade. This massive movement of food and the threat of its widespread contamination make individual interventions in food safety ineffective. It is therefore imperative that governments, the private sector consumers and other stakeholders work in a concerted manner in this shared responsibility of assuring food safety from farm-to-fork. Cooperation at the national, sub-regional, regional and international levels provides opportunities for synergy and maximized benefits for improved human health and economic development.

This paper discusses the modalities for bettering cooperation in food safety assurance by describing the coordination between the multiple agencies involved in food control systems in selected countries. It further discusses good practices in cooperation and collaboration in food safety at national, regional and international levels and provides recommendations for consideration by Member States.

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