The chief scientists of FAO and WHO highlighted the function of science in maintaining 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 Common QU Dongyu and WHO Director Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave video messages on the session that greater than 600 folks attended.
“No person ought to die from consuming meals. These are preventable deaths. When meals security is improved we cut back starvation, malnutrition and toddler mortality. Youngsters miss fewer days in school, adults improve their productiveness, and the pressure on well being techniques is diminished,” mentioned Ghebreyesus.
Understanding threat and hazards
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO, mentioned science is central to meals security.
“It is very important perceive the character and degree 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 impression in decreasing the chance,” she mentioned.
“For instance, microbiological hazards can multiply or diminish and the dangers to shoppers depends upon 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 threat administration. Scientific recommendation supplied by the WHO and FAO to Codex is important for the event of meals security worldwide requirements.”
Swaminathan mentioned when addressing any situation it is very important perceive what it’s, the place it’s and the burden of the issue.
“Not all nations have good information techniques to seize this so one in every of our focuses has been on strengthening well being data and information techniques so nations can begin capturing information on what is occurring to their populations. We then want to grasp the character of the dangers and the place contamination could also be taking place,” she mentioned.
Position of expertise emphasised
Entire genome sequencing must be used extra extensively in meals security, in keeping with Swaminathan.
“We all know by sequencing the contaminant and importing the sequences into public databases, scientists around the globe will likely 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 change 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 consultants and molecular biology,” she mentioned.
“We want express 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 impression 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 growth and the not too long ago revealed Microbiological Danger Evaluation Steering for Meals, which gives a framework to evaluate the chance of microbiological hazards utilizing totally different methods.
“There’s an rising function of latest and rising applied sciences in meals manufacturing, post-harvest therapy, processing, packaging and sanitary therapy. 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 want insurance policies and regulation to supply a greater setting to make use of these applied sciences to guard us and improve the protection of our meals techniques,” Elouafi mentioned.
“We have to use extra synthetic intelligence, blockchain and clever packaging that may guarantee meals is genuine, protected and of fine high quality from the farm degree to the buyer.
“We’re in an period the place now we have the flexibility to assemble and analyze massive information and join the various things. We didn’t have that energy 10 years in the past. The final expertise I wish to point out is nanotechnology. We’re in a position to see and alter issues which can be 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 protection internet, the correct insurance policies and the correct connections.”
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