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IAEA and FAO Symposium to Discuss Food Safety and Control


The 2024 International Symposium on Food Safety and Control will take place, at the IAEA headquarters, in Vienna from 27 to 31 May, uniting efforts to protect food supply chains and strengthen defences against threats to food security and trade.

The symposium has been organized by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and will bring together nearly 500 participants from 112 countries.

“The symposium serves as a platform to explore mechanisms to enhance the resilience of food control systems and advancements in applying nuclear technologies to particularly strengthen food safety and control,” said James Sasanya, Acting Section Head, Food Safety and Control Section, at the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. “The event hopes to increase the uptake of nuclear and related techniques to tackle key issues affecting food safety and quality and contribute to food security and adapt to climate change,” he said. 

With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne diseases annually, unsafe and poor quality food is a threat to human health. This symposium will provide a forum for information sharing on cutting edge research and developments in the application of nuclear technologies for food safety and control; networking opportunities between the public and private sectors; and the chance to define future research needs and directions.

Nuclear and isotopic techniques play an important role in analytical laboratory services to ensure that safe and good quality food is consumed. Nuclear science also contributes to reducing post-harvest losses as well as controlling pests and diseases that hinder exports

Organized through the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, the symposium will focus on critical topics, such as food authenticity and fighting food fraud; food and phytosanitary irradiation; chemical residues and contaminants in food and feed; preparing for and responding to emergencies and incidents affecting the food supply: detection and characterization of pathogens in food; standard setting and risk assessment; and One Health — a Holistic approach to human, animal, and environmental health. The symposium will also discuss the Atoms4Food Initiative, with focus on food safety and control. Partnerships will also be discussed.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre and its Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory coordinate and support applied research through more than 25 coordinated research projects annually, fostering cooperation between 400 international and national research institutions and experimental stations. 

Food control systems assure food safety and quality, which are vital components of food security and are both necessary to secure international trade in food commodities. They also fight food fraud, ensuring fair practices that foster economic opportunities for all parties along the food supply chain.

Participants include representatives of IAEA and FAO Member States and scientists, researchers, laboratory analysts, policy makers, regulators, food producers and other stakeholders also concerned with food safety and control systems.

The peaceful uses of nuclear technologies play a fundamental role in protecting national and international food supply chains and in enhancing their resilience to food security and climate change-related challenges. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, along with the IAEA technical cooperation programme, assists its members in developing and adopting nuclear and related techniques that offer science-based solutions for regulating food safety and quality.

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