Food Safety

         The Regional Committee,

         Recalling resolutions WHA53.15 on food safety, WHA55.16 on the global public health response to natural occurrence, accidental release or deliberate use of biological and chemical agents or radionuclear material that affect health, and WPR/RC52.R2 on food safety;

         Concerned that foodborne illnesses, food contamination and emerging zoonoses pose serious threats to public health and economic and social stability in the Western Pacific Region;

         Recognizing that the risk of food-related disease outbreaks is particularly acute in the Western Pacific and neighbouring regions because birds, animals and people often live in close proximity to each other and because of the ways in which birds and animals are produced and marketed for food;

         Aware that unacceptable levels of pesticide residues, antibiotic residues, pathogens and mycotoxins in food have led to food exports from the Region being rejected in recent years;

Acknowledging the need to strengthen the capacity of each country to participate in international information sharing and cooperative action in order to detect, report and respond more rapidly to foodborne disease outbreaks or food contamination events of international significance, including incidents of deliberate contamination;

  1. URGES Member States:
    (1) to give greater emphasis to food safety issues, allocate additional resources to making food safer and share information on foodborne diseases and food contamination with other Member States and with WHO, including through the International Food Safety Authorities Network;
    (2) to develop and maintain national surveillance of foodborne diseases, participate in regional surveillance mechanisms, monitor hazards in food and collaborate in the rapid analysis and sharing of surveillance data in order to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases;
    (3) to establish policies and plans of action to encourage cooperation among ministries, producers, industry, vendors and consumers so that food safety is addressed throughout the food production, processing and marketing chain;
    (4) to introduce evidence-based regulatory controls in markets where live birds and animals are sold for food in order to reduce the burden of emerging zoonoses and food-related diseases;
    (5) to participate in and strengthen multicountry approaches to improving food safety, such as those being pursued by the Codex Alimentarius and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN);
  2. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to work with Member States, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health and other partners throughout the food production, processing and marketing chain in order to reduce the risk of emerging zoonoses;
    (2) to promote greater international and regional information sharing and cooperative action to address food safety issues by ensuring the Region is appropriately represented in the International Food Safety Authorities Network and other relevant networks;
    (3) to coordinate with the South-East Asia Regional Office of WHO to develop biregional approaches to food safety;
    (4) to give greater emphasis to food safety and strive to obtain commitments from Member States, international organizations and the donor community to allocate additional resources to respond to the growing challenges of foodborne diseases and food contamination.

17 September 2004

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