World Health Organization:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
In the 21st century, health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defence against transnational threats.
For more information on the World Health Organization, please click here.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people. For more information about FAO, please click here.
In Risk Communication
In Food Safety
GHPs and HACCP
In Food Components and Production
Workshop on Strengthening Food Safety in Small and Less Developed Food Businesses:
GM foods (See also: Biotechnology)
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the keystone of European Union (EU) risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientific advice and clear communication on existing and emerging risks.
EFSA was set up in January 2002, following a series of food crises in the late 1990s, as an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain.
EFSA was created as part of a comprehensive programme to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply.
In the European food safety system, risk assessment is done independently from risk management. As the risk assessor,
EFSA produces scientific opinions and advice to provide a sound foundation for European policies and legislation and to support the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States in taking effective and timely risk management decisions.
EFSA’s remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health.
In all these fields, EFSA’s most critical commitment is to provide objective and independent science-based advice and
clear communication grounded in the most up-to-date scientific information and knowledge.
EFSA Risk Communication Guidelines: “When Food is Cooking Up a Storm – proven recipes for Risk Communications”
As part of a joint initiative with national food safety agencies, EFSA has published new risk communications guidelines:
“When Food Is Cooking Up a Storm – Proven Recipes for Risk Communications”. A recognised need for practical guidance
coupled with a desire from all participating countries to share learning and experience to strengthen risk communications
within the European food safety system has resulted in these guidelines.
Communicators from EFSA, national food safety authorities across Europe as well as the European Commission work together in the Authority’s Advisory Forum Communications Working Group (AFCWG). The guidelines were initiated as part of an overall aim to share best practices in risk communications. A key aim of the AFCWG is to promote co-operation and coherence in risk communications – one of the key priorities laid down in EFSA’s Communications Strategy - particularly between risk assessors in Member States and EFSA.
The guidelines will be periodically revisited and updated with best practice case studies. In keeping with the spirit of this collaborative initiative, all feedback from practitioners is welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food RisC Europe:
FoodRisC Europe aims to map out the networks and information sources contributing to food risk and benefit communication across Europe and to create a toolkit aimed at policy makers, food authorities and other stakeholders that will facilitate effective and coherent communication on food.
As consumers, we receive a lot of information about food – what we should eat, what we should avoid, the benefits and risks associated with different foods and diets – A communication landscape that should help us to arrive at a nutritious and safe diet.
However, all these messages about food produce a network of paths that consumers find difficult to navigate easily. Amongst the legitimate information sources may hide some unjustified messages which can be further complicated by a food being associated with both benefits and risks. Risk and benefit messages can be difficult to decipher and cause confusion for consumers.
The aim of the FoodRisC (Food Risk Communication – perceptions and communication of food risk/benefits across Europe) project is to map out the networks and information sources contributing to food risk and benefit communication. This will result in a toolkit aimed at policy makers, food authorities and other stakeholders that will facilitate effective and coherent communication on food and thus promote consumer understanding through clear messages.
The recent history of food scares across Europe, including Salmonella in eggs, BSE in beef and dioxins in animal feed, has lowered consumer confidence in the food supply chain and regulatory agencies.
Despite various measures taken to reinforce consumer confidence, communication of food risks and benefits still remains challenging, with current public concerns related to amongst other things new food technology and diet-related diseases. Thus, the adoption of common approaches to risk/benefit communication and the use of coherent messages to prevent the spread of misleading messages is expected to lead to a reduction in the proportion of negative consumer reactions and unjust consequences for actors within the food supply chain.
To address these concerns the FoodRisC project funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme, will provide new evidence in five areas:
- The characterisation of food risk and benefit issues and the consequent communication implications
- The potential role of new social media in communicating food risk/benefit
- The way in which consumers respond to information they perceive as uncertain, contested or confusing and to develop relevant segmentation criteria
- The applicability of the concept of information seeking to the design of food risk/benefit communications
- Developing practical ways in which consumer sense making and deliberation can be taken into account in order to provide substantive benefits to stakeholders in developing communications.
The outcomes from these five areas of investigation will result in FoodRisC developing a toolkit that through dissemination and training willd irectly improve current practice in food communication among national and international policy groups.
Other Additional Resources