The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on 24-25 February 2014 to discuss increasing collaboration in the area of food safety.
The meeting was linked with the recent signing of the memorandum of understanding between CGIAR and FAO to strengthen ties between the two organizations for translating science to policy.
The first day was attended by over 25 representatives from more than 10 institutions including Kenyan government institutions, academia, international organizations and research institutions.
The representatives shared information regarding the work of their respective institutions in the area of food safety, identified some key areas for support, and provided an open forum to discuss food safety challenges.
During the discussion, ILRI and FAO presented an overview of ongoing or planned activities related to food safety. Some of the key areas for support outlined by the stakeholders included food safety surveillance, generation of data, capacity building and improving collaboration across the wide range of stakeholders involved in managing food safety at the national level.
The second day was specifically for ILRI and FAO to discuss in detail possible areas for collaboration. Each organization had outlined a wide range of topics to discuss including:
- multifactorial framework for policy decision-making in food safety;
- food safety risk analysis training opportunities;
- food safety surveillance including early warning and rapid alert systems; and
- practical food safety application in informal markets.
By the end of the meeting, the two organizations agreed on a number of activities that could benefit from joint efforts and for future collaborative work.
FAO representatives also had the opportunity to tour the ILRI campus facilities and discuss food safety issues with other ILRI colleagues outside of the Food Safety and Zoonoses team, including the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub which supports the use of biosciences to address food safety and security challenges in Africa such as aflatoxins.
The two-day meeting was highly successful, with both organizations expressing support for increased collaboration in the area of food safety at global and regional levels.
This meeting is timely given the increasing momentum of food safety globally and in Africa, as evidenced by the proposed development of a food safety coordination mechanism and the generation of the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa under the leadership of the African Union, among numerous other initiatives.