Agricultural preparedness and response management

The response of agriculture and food authorities to radiation emergencies ought to be the same as for any emergency involving hazardous materials. Planning and using established radiation safety principles are essential to avoid misconceptions concerning radiation and radioactivity that may otherwise lead to harmful decisions and actions.

Accidental or malicious releases of radionuclides into the environment may potentially threaten life and disrupt socioeconomic development. Past experience has shown that rural communities, agricultural production and the food supply can be affected. Such releases are typically local events but may have international or even global consequences. Often, their exact nature, occurrence or consequences are not foreseeable.

Governments have an obligation to develop and implement emergency plans to mitigate the impact of such events. Response actions may span several different branches of government and multiple organizations, and may have long-term consequences for people, trade and the economy.

The FAO and IAEA are full parties to international early notification and assistance conventions governing the event of a radiological or nuclear emergency. The FAO assists Member States in preparing and responding effectively to such emergencies by providing support and by helping develop, co-ordinate and implement relevant procedures and response mechanisms.