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PANAFTOSA calls on countries to establish measures to guarantee food safety throughout the production chain

7th June, 2020

Dr. Ottorino Cosivi


Pan American Center for Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Veterinary Public Health (PANAFTOSA)

World Food Safety Day emphasizes the importance of safe food in traditional markets and recognizes the work of the actors in the production chain that allow a continuous supply of food in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PANAFTOSA-PAHO / WHO, June 5, 2020 - As World Food Safety Day is commemorated on June 7, the Pan American Center for Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Veterinary Public Health (PANAFTOSA) calls on the countries of the Americas to establish the necessary measures to ensure food safety throughout the production chain so that consumers receive safe food.

This year we want to emphasize the importance of food safety in traditional markets or fairs, which in much of the region are the main source of fresh and accessible food for many low-income groups, and in turn, an important source of livelihood for millions of urban and rural inhabitants in the region. However, traditional markets, particularly those with the sale of live animals, may represent a risk of transmission of diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases). Therefore, it is important that the production and sale of live animals is regulated to prevent the spread of emerging diseases.

“In addition to safety, we want to highlight that, from a public health point of view, food markets can be a potential focus of outbreaks of zoonotic diseases and disease transmission. For this reason, it is important to alert the authorities of the countries of the region about the need for regulations and inspections to prevent risks in transportation centers, retention centers and markets, ”highlighted Dr. Ottorino Cosivi, director of PANAFTOSA.

"Foods, which contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals, cause more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhea to cancer. Foodborne illness is a global public health problem and therefore we cooperate with the countries of the Americas to strengthen their food safety systems, "said Dr. Margarita Corrales, responsible for the food safety area of ​​PANAFTOSA.

The World Health Organization estimates that, globally, one in ten people becomes ill after consuming contaminated food, and that 420,000 die each year, with children under 5 years being the most affected, with 125,000 deaths annually.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), through its Regional Plan of Action for Technical Cooperation in Food Safety, which is coordinated by PANAFTOSA, is working with the countries of the region to strengthen their food safety systems.

Ensuring food safety

To guarantee food safety, PANAFTOSA indicates the following actions to be followed by all actors in the production chain, from the field to the table, for safe food production:

  1. Ensuring safety :
  2. Governments must ensure safe and nutritious food for all, through policies that can promote agriculture and sustainable food systems, and through multi-sectoral collaboration between public health, animal health, agriculture and other sectors.
  3. Grow safe food :
  4. Agricultural producers must ensure the supply of safe food to consumers.
  5. Keeping food safe :
  6. Business operators must ensure that food is safely transported, stored and processed, not only to keep food safe but to preserve the nutritional value of food.
  7. Consume food safely :
  8. Consumers need to have access to timely, clear and reliable information regarding the nutritional and disease risks associated with their food choices.
  9. Act together for safety :
  10. Governments, regional economic agencies, United Nations organizations, development agencies, trade organizations, consumer and producer groups, academic and research institutions, as well as private sector entities, must work Joint Meeting on Food Safety Issues.


The Pan American Center for Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Veterinary Public Health (PANAFTOSA) is linked to the Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Health Determinants (CDE) of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO / WHO). PANAFTOSA is responsible for coordinating the Veterinary Public Health Program and works for the prevention, surveillance and control of zoonoses, promoting initiatives to improve food safety systems and the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease, with the objective of promoting public health and socioeconomic development in the region.