The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and food manufacturer Mars have renewed their partnership on food safety.

Maximo Torero, FAO’s chief economist, and Dr. Abigail Stevenson, chief science officer for Mars, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote better understanding and application of Codex Alimentarius food standards.

FAO and Mars will work on enhancing mycotoxin management in maize value chains through modeling approaches and strengthen information-sharing on emerging food safety threats, technologies, and trends.

“Strong science to support food safety decisions and strong public-private cooperation for food safety are increasingly important to ensure sustainable and resilient agrifood systems,” said Torero.

Mars’ partnership with FAO began in 2015. The two parties exchange knowledge and information to support science-based decision-making and strengthen food safety through capacity building.

“This is a great opportunity to share our technical knowledge and scientific expertise in mycotoxin management and develop scientific publications which help to ensure safe food for all,” said Stevenson.

There are plans for FAO and Mars to help develop guidance for increased uptake of Codex standards and codes of practices by the private sector, in areas such as food allergen management and the identification of best practices for mycotoxin control and mitigation in maize value chains.

FAO said activities with Mars will boost the agency’s capacity for early warning, risk reduction and management of health risks. 

WHO and BfR partner
Elsewhere, the World Health Organization (WHO) and German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) have also agreed to collaborate for the next decade.

The cooperation will focus on food safety, global networking for risk assessment, risk communication, capacity building, and sustainability in the food chain.

BfR and WHO intend to use risk assessment methods to address current and future challenges to food safety and nutrition. The aim is to develop a risk-benefit assessment that integrates nutrition, safety, and sustainability.

Another focus is capacity building for risk assessment and recommendations on food safety and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries.

Francesco Branca, director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, said: “There is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of low- and middle-income countries to understand and respond to food system challenges and improve food safety and nutrition. The BfR’s experience and capabilities will improve and expand the WHO’s actions.”

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