Food safety was not a major focus of the UN Food Systems Summit but has been included in a newly formed coalition.

The food system coalitions cut across five priority areas for action. Food safety will be part of the Coalition for Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems.

“We must use the power of ingenuity to improve on food systems so they provide safe, nutritious, affordable and accessible food for all, while conserving natural resources and combating the climate crisis,” said Tom Vilsack, U.S. agriculture secretary.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will support this work with UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNEP and the World Food Programme.

“Healthy diets and sustainably produced, safe food for all is not an out of reach aspiration, but an unavoidable component of global development, a human right and an achievable goal which can be realized through clear, well established and aligned actions,” said Francesco Branca, WHO director of nutrition and food safety.

A six-month follow-up after the summit is planned where the coalition’s governance, processes, membership, commitments and work plan undergoes further refinement informed by bimonthly meetings with interested parties.

It had been hoped food safety would get its own coalition as action track 1 was “ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all.”

Keeping the momentum
A number of commitments have been made as part of the five action areas. These include one from OBOR Legal Research Centre on ensuring, promoting and improving food safety in Asia.

Another is from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) that helped form a partnership to ensure the safety of foods is not forgotten. The Safe Food Partnership brought together 100 members from industry, government, academia, and the public.

Those interested in the group include the European Commission, Codex, African Union, International Dairy Federation, Tetra Pak, DNV, ILRI, United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association, GFSI, PepsiCo, Unilever, Danone and Nestlé.

Members said the focus of food safety investment for export must shift to domestic consumption and public health. Governments need better data on the public health and economic impacts of foodborne disease. Consumers must be given knowledge and choices to help drive markets to provide safe food.

GAIN is also hosting a webinar following the summit on food safety transformation in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Regional leaders plan to share their insights and the realities on the ground considering politics, financing, scalability, inclusivity, and gaps in capacity and infrastructure.

The discussion, on Sept. 30, will be moderated by Steve Wearne and panelists will share challenges, lessons learned, successes, and their vision for the future of food safety.

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