The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for help as part of work to estimate the burden of foodborne disease.

WHO is seeking support from independent consultants or groups of experts with relevant experience to undertake systematic reviews and other studies on foodborne illness. The process is part of collecting and assessing available evidence.

One call is for the review and evidence synthesis of diarrheal diseases and deaths caused by 14 pathogens commonly transmitted by food. The other covers global expert elicitation for attribution of burden of disease to foodborne transmission and to specific foods.

The WHO Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) was reconvened in May 2021 to update global estimates published in 2015. This group has already met three times in July and October 2021, and April 2022. A new report is expected in 2025.

According to 2015 estimates from the WHO’s FERG from 2007 to 2015, foodborne diseases caused 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths in 2010.

Based on this data, although children under the age of 5 represent only 9 percent of the population, they bear 40 percent of the foodborne disease burden. There is also regional differences with people in Africa the most affected.

To apply for the call follow this link. The deadline is Sept. 30.

Controlling Salmonella in poultry meat
Meanwhile, experts will meet in Geneva this month to speak about pre- and post-harvest control of Salmonella in poultry meat.

The meeting is needed after the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene asked the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) to collate scientific information on Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken meat ahead of an update to the relevant guidelines to control these pathogens in such products.

Another session on the pre- and post-harvest control of Campylobacter is set for 2023.

The purpose of the event on Sept. 12-16 is to collect, review and discuss relevant control measures from primary production to consumption. It is scheduled to include aspects of production, processing, distribution, handling, preparation and retail.

Emphasis will be on identifying and evaluating solutions to reduce salmonellosis associated with consumption of poultry meat, taking into consideration their effectiveness and practicalities.

Experts are set to look at publicly available literature and guidelines from authorities and industry associations to assess the current state of knowledge in controlling Salmonella in poultry meat and review the mitigation and intervention measures being used at different points along the food chain and judge their effectiveness.

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