Food safety and food borne illness

Food safety may be defined as the processes by which we ensure that human foods do not harm the consumer through the transmission of a foodborne illness. Food safety is an increasingly important public health issue. Governments all over the world are intensifying their efforts to improve food safety. These efforts are in response to an increasing number of food safety problems and rising consumer concerns. For more information, check out the World Health organisation fact sheet on food safety.

Food safety is an important public health issue, and a basic requirement for international trade. All consumers, whether domestic or in export markets have a right to food which is safe. Although TRTAII is a trade development programme, we recognise that it makes no sense to develop food safety conditions for export production only. The principle of farm to fork controls, recongnises that food safety originates from good practices all along the supply chain, in the early stages of which on the farm, in the feedmills, it is not usually possible to separate domestic and export supply chains. The Project therefore places a high priority on overall strengthening of the Pakistani food safety system.

The high priority on food safety is reflected by the activities of several key international bodies. The following agencies all have intense programmes of activities driving advances in food safety controls and management:

  • World Health Organisation, Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation, Nutrition And Consumer Protection Division Aims
  • World Organisaton for Animal Health, Working Group on Animal Production Food Safety
  • European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection
  • US Food and Drug Administration, Centre for Food Safety and Nutrition
  • In addition, additional for information:
  • EU Food safety (9)
  • FAO technical papers dealing with hygiene and food safety compliance (10)
  • Codex Alimentarius standards and codes of practice (11)