The chief scientists of FAO and WHO highlighted the function of science in conserving meals protected 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 Basic QU Dongyu and WHO Director Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave video messages on the session that greater than 600 individuals attended.
“No one ought to die from consuming meals. These are preventable deaths. When meals security is improved we scale back starvation, malnutrition and toddler mortality. Kids miss fewer days at college, adults improve their productiveness, and the pressure on well being methods is diminished,” stated Ghebreyesus.
Understanding danger and hazards
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO, stated 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 upon understanding, which can have essentially the most affect in decreasing the chance,” she stated.
“For instance, microbiological hazards can multiply or diminish and the dangers to customers will depend on how a lot publicity there’s 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 selections on danger administration. Scientific recommendation offered by the WHO and FAO to Codex is crucial for the event of meals security worldwide requirements.”
Swaminathan stated when addressing any difficulty it is very important perceive what it’s, the place it’s and the burden of the issue.
“Not all nations have good knowledge methods to seize this so one among our focuses has been on strengthening well being info and knowledge methods so nations can begin capturing knowledge on what is going on to their populations. We then want to grasp the character of the dangers and the place contamination could also be occurring,” she stated.
Position of expertise emphasised
Entire genome sequencing must be used extra extensively in meals security, based on Swaminathan.
“We all know by sequencing the contaminant and importing the sequences into public databases, scientists all over the world will probably be in a greater place to have the ability to monitor and estimate which pathogens are inflicting issues the place and monitor the origins of a few of these contaminants. WGS has develop into extra extensively accessible 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 stated.
“We’d like specific 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 affect is necessary for any program. These indicators assist nations once they do self-assessment to establish 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 improvement and the not too long ago printed Microbiological Risk Assessment Guidance for Food, which offers a framework to evaluate the chance of microbiological hazards utilizing completely different methods.
“There’s an rising function of latest 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 entire genome sequencing and likewise gene enhancing. WGS permits us to grasp higher in epidemiological surveillance, meals testing, monitoring and outbreak investigation however we have to do extra. We’d like insurance policies and regulation to supply a greater setting to make use of these applied sciences to guard us and improve the security of our meals methods,” Elouafi stated.
“We have to use extra synthetic intelligence, blockchain and clever packaging that may guarantee meals is genuine, protected and of excellent high quality from the farm stage to the buyer.
“We’re in an period the place now we have 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 need to point out is nanotechnology. We’re capable of 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 security web, the fitting insurance policies and the fitting connections.”
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