Roadmap for metrics to enhance food safety in low- and middle-income countries
Woman selling meat in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (photo via Flickr: Everjean).
‘Is my food safe?’ This question voices a fundamental consumer concern—regardless of where they live, what their income level is, or where they purchase their food.
‘The demand for information on food safety, meanwhile, grows louder particularly among consumers in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) as they move towards cities and away from farms, growing more conscious of the quality of food they eat. But that information is rarely readily available, particularly in those countries.
‘Recognizing the universal nature of this question, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy created a working group to consider current research on food safety, including metrics, tools, and definitions; identify areas of opportunity or need for additional research in this area; and suggest ways to make research on food safety in low and middle-income countries more robust and replicable.
‘The results of this effort are reported in a new working paper and related technical brief by the ANH Academy Food Safety Working Group, which we have co-authored with our colleagues. . . .
‘We recommend, among other things:
- Those undertaking this process begin with a strategic plan that includes food safety goals and steps towards achieving them;
- The plan looks beyond processes to also consider outcomes and impact;
- The plan includes multiple measures, accurately reflecting the complex nature of this issue
- What is being measured is understood and accepted by all stakeholders; and
- The benefits of measure-based food safety systems should outweigh the costs of their implementation
‘. . . Decision makers need to understand:
- The scope of the problem, and its impacts;
- Where concern exists, what it is rooted in, how it affects behavior, and what will allay it; and
- What is being done in management of the issue, who is, and should be, involved, and what can make it more effective.
‘. . . [T]he report . . . lays out a roadmap to tackling this important challenge, one in which researchers and policymakers and the private sector and others can each contribute valuable pieces to the larger pool of knowledge. . . .
Read the whole article on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy website: Is my food safe?—The state of current research on food safety, by ILRI scientists Delia Grace and Silvia Alonso.
Read the technical brief by Delia Grace (ILRI), Paula Dominguez-Salas (ILRI), Silvia Alonso (ILRI), Anna Fahrion (WHO), Barbara Haesler (Royal Veterinary College), Martin Heilmann (FAO), Vivian Hoffmann (IFPRI), Erastus Kang’ethe (University of Nairobi), Kristina Roesel (ILRI) and Tezira Lore (ILRI), 2018. Food safety metrics relevant to low and middle income countries. Technical Brief. Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Food Safety Working Group. Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions programme. London, UK.
Read the working paper: Food safety metrics relevant to low and middle income countries Working paper, Agriculture, Nutrition & Health Academy Food Safety Working Group, April 2018