As part of today’s World Health Day celebration, which this year is dedicated to food safety, there is a clear acknowledgement of the public health implications and the burden of disease associated with food safety incidents.
Lower food safety standards and repeated food safety incidents
have a negative impact on countries’ gross domestic products (GDP) and
contribute to weakening the competitive position of producers, particularly in
countries where the agriculture and the agri-food sectors plays a significant
role in the economy, which is the case of most developing nations.
Unreliable food safety systems deepen the gap between so-called
developed and developing nations.
In a global food supply chain, where sourcing of ingredients
covers the entire world, disparities in food safety management measures
increase costs to operators because of trust issues, which translate into additional prevention control mechanisms and remediation measures. This in turn, contributes to potential trade disruptions and barriers. Furthermore, when
remediation measures are taken hastily as a result of a food safety crisis, even with the intent to upgrade capacity, they may be made too restrictive, not being risk-based and not necessarily in line with international standards.
It is therefore easy to see how investing in food safety capacity building results in real savings, both to public health and to the economy.
Investing proactively in food safety capacity building makes good business sense.
Hopefully, with this year’s momentum thanks to the World Health Day being dedicated to Food Safety, we will witness increased interest in our collective ability to invest in global initiatives such as the World Bank’ Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), as a key convener and catalyst for
greater capacity building in food safety worldwide.