A man works in his vegetable field on the Barotse Floodplain, Zambia. Photo by Anna Fawcus.

A man works in his vegetable field on the Barotse Floodplain, Zambia (photo credit: WorldFish/Anna Fawcus).

A new publication by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) focuses on influencing food environments for healthy diets through four areas: production of diversified food, food safety, food labelling and food-based dietary guidelines. FAO defines food environments as the settings with all the different types of food made available and accessible to people as they go about their daily lives.

The chapter on food safety was authored by Delia Grace, veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The chapter begins with an overview on foodborne diseases and the groups that are most vulnerable. It then goes on to discuss the health burden of—and trends in—foodborne diseases, the role of food safety in ensuring a healthy food environment and interventions that countries can take to improve food safety.

The recommendations put forward for improving food safety are:

  • A ‘farm-to-fork’ approach is best for identifying control points
  • Use risk-based approaches rather than hazard-based ones
  • Where the informal sector predominates, professionalize rather than penalize
  • Encourage the uptake of appropriate technology
  • Improve food safety governance
  • Take into account the costs of disease control
  • Carry out holistic prioritization

The book was developed by FAO’s Nutrition and Food Systems Division as a follow-up activity to the Second International Conference on Nutrition held at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy on 19–21 November 2014.

Download the book

ILRI news

Cover of the new World Bank food safety in Vietnam report: Please check back here in another three days to get a link to the report online.

This post is written by Chi Nguyen, communications officer for ILRI in East and Southeast Asia (c.nguyen [at] cgiar.org).

A report launched this week on managing risks to food safety in Vietnam was prepared by the World Bank and other research and development partners at the request of the Government of Vietnam. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) was the lead technical partner in development of the report.

Food Safety Risk Management in Vietnam: Challenges and opportunities, launched on 27 Mar 2017, includes an urgent call for better management of food safety issues in Vietnam and more effective communications to raise public awareness of food safety issues. The report found that the primary cause of food-borne illness in Vietnam comes from…

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ILRI news

Selling pork in a traditonal Vietnamese market

Selling pork at a traditional ‘wet’ market in Hung Yen province, northern Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/HUPH/Ngan Tran).

Pork meat sold in Vietnam has been found by researchers to commonly carry bacteria that could cause disease—but they also found that the risk of that meat sickening people is largely reduced due to the Vietnamese habit of buying very fresh meat and cooking it shortly thereafter.

The research results indicate ways that the safety of pork meat can be even further improved in this fast-growing and -evolving market. The bottom line is that ensuring safe pork consumption in Vietnam is very important—and very doable.

Conspicuous (pork) consumption

Pigs and pig keeping, and pork and pork eating, are ubiquitous in Vietnam, where pork remains the favoured meat—the food choice of both the poor and the rich, of the rural farm worker and the urban elite. Pork is consumed daily and widely in Vietnamese…

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ILRI news

Visit to villages outside of Dodoma, Tanzania

Tanzanian woman on her cell phone (photo credit: CCAFS/Cecilia Schubert).

A new open-access Nutrition Knowledge Bank has been created as part of a GSMA mNutrition initiative to help tackle malnutrition in Africa and Asia. This collection of content on good nutritional practices includes factsheets and mobile messages for anyone to download and use. Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the mNutrition project aims to deliver nutrition information to 3 million people in 12 developing countries.

Adequate nutrition is critical to the physical and mental development of children and to long-term human health, but one out of three people in developing countries suffers from micronutrient deficiency. Experts consider poor access to agricultural and health information a major barrier to the uptake of improved nutritional practises, particularly by women and vulnerable groups in marginalized areas.

mNutrition delivers content to people at risk of malnutrition in Bangladesh, Ghana…

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Locally made beef stew sold in Bagnon market at Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Locally made beef stew sold in Bagnon market at Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

What are the key food safety issues related to livestock production and animal-source foods and what are their potential impacts on human health and nutrition?

Join an upcoming joint Agrilinks and Microlinks webinar on 25 January 2017 at 0900–1100 hours EDT where experts will share effective approaches to improving food safety and quality related to livestock production.

Attendees will learn about improving food safety and quality throughout the livestock value chain including production methods, processing and storage technologies, risk assessments, policy impacts, opportunities for the private sector and consumer education.

  • Hung Nguyen-Viet from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) will pay particular attention to the relationship between animal-source foods and the impact of foodborne disease, while also considering how traditional and gender roles in livestock and fish value chains can impact exposure and risk.
  • Dennis Karamuzi will outline the steps taken by the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Project II to increase the supply of clean milk for rural and urban consumers.
  • Silvia Alonso from ILRI will discuss the role of informal markets in meeting the nutrition needs of the most vulnerable communities and the tension between food safety, livelihoods and access to food that characterize such markets. She will present new research aimed to investigate how ‘light-touch’ interventions in informal dairy markets could give win-win outcomes on health and livelihoods.

Presenters will discuss new actions taking place in development that help provide clean, safe and affordable animal-source foods to poor urban and rural households. In addition, the webinar will touch on the role of animal-source foods in the global burden of foodborne disease and why the safety of animal-source foods plays an important role in food security.

Register for the webinar

A livestock health worker prescribes drugs to a dairy farmer in Bangladesh

A livestock health worker prescribes drugs to a dairy farmer in Bangladesh (photo credit: IFPRI/Akram Ali, CARE Bangladesh).

An opinion piece by International Livestock Research Institute veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace shines the spotlight on the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance and the need to tackle the problem while finding a balance between low access to antimicrobials (particularly in developing countries) and overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

She writes:

“Antimicrobial use is a matter of access versus excess. Somehow, we must reduce the use of antimicrobial drugs in animals to tackle growing levels of drug resistance while ensuring that these life- and livelihood-saving treatments reach those who really need them.”

Read the complete article, Can the livestock sector find the elusive ‘win-win’ on drug resistance? Devex, 16 December 2016

Hung Nguyen-Viet receives the 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health 'Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field of EcoHealth' award

Hung Nguyen-Viet (left) receives the 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health (IEAH) ‘Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field of EcoHealth’ award from former IEAH president Jakob Zinsstag (photo credit: ILRI/Tarni Cooper).

Hung Nguyen-Viet, a senior scientist in food safety and ecohealth at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was named the winner of the 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health (IAEH) Exceptional Early Career Contribution to the Field of EcoHealth Award together with Jonathan Kingsley of the University of Melbourne.

IAEH is a scholarly organization whose membership is drawn from all continents. Its mission is to strive for sustainable health of people, wildlife and ecosystems by promoting discovery, understanding and transdisciplinarity.

The award was given in recognition of Hung’s leadership, mentorship, research and writing on topics of domestic and global significance, including health, agriculture, food safety and infectious and zoonotic diseases at ILRI and at the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER), Hanoi University of Public Health.

Hung received the award at the closing ceremony of the 4th International One Health Congress and 6th IAEH Biennial Congress held in Melbourne, Australia on 3–7 December 2016.

“I strongly believe that ecohealth and One Health are good approaches to address complex health and environmental problems,” said Hung in his acceptance speech.

“Let us all work together and advance ecohealth,” he urged his colleagues.

Hung is a Vietnamese national and holds a PhD in Life and Environmental Sciences from Besançon, France. He co-founded and led CENPHER where he has been coordinating a regional program called Ecohealth Field Building Leadership Initiative in Southeast Asia from 2012 to 2016. In addition to his research role at ILRI, he is the institute’s acting regional representative for East and Southeast Asia based in Hanoi. He is also an honorary professor at Hanoi University of Public Health.

Congratulations, Hung!