As countries move through food system transformations, not only does the focus shift from achieving food security to ensuring food safety, but also diets grow more complex and diverse, with food traveling greater distances from where it is grown. Identifying and mitigating food safety risks becomes increasingly important. From controlling aflatoxins to identifying risks along supply chains to working to ensure quality standards in informal markets, A4NH’s third flagship, led by the International Livestock Research Institute with support from the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and the International Food Policy Research Institute, works to ensure policymakers, the private sector, and other stakeholders have the tools they need to take action as food systems evolve.
This World Food Safety Day 2020, learn more about research from A4NH and partners in this important field.
Supporting International Developments in Food Safety with Quality Research, Engagement: As food safety has become more prominent on the international development agenda, A4NH has provided research into the largely ignored role of food safety in informal markets, where many poor people buy and sell fresh foods. Researchers have been able to provide high-quality research and relevant trainings. In 2019, a major training effort in Cambodia offered researchers and practitioners practical tools and skills to understand food safety in increasingly complex food systems. At the first WHO/FAO/AU International Food Safety Conference in Ethiopia, the important task of working with producers, market agents, and consumers to improve food safety and livelihoods in informal markets was highlighted. A4NH researchers also contributed to the evolving discussion on food safety in Africa, through the African Union and other platforms. Learn more.
Proving Efficacy of Nigeria’s Aflatoxin Biocontrol Product: Results from a 10-Year Study: An A4NH-supported partnership led by IITA has developed, tested, and adapted aflatoxin biocontrol for Africa south of the Sahara for more than 18 years. In 2019, the team published a landmark journal article reporting on a 10-year study in Nigeria on the efficacy of Aflasafe®, a registered biocontrol product for aflatoxin management. This is the longest-running, most extensive study on efficacy of any biocontrol product or management practice for aflatoxin mitigation, combining results of efficacy trials required for registration with data from both large-scale trials to demonstrate product value and commercial use by thousands of maize farmers. The study firmly establishes Aflasafe® as a vital tool in the fight against aflatoxins. Learn more.
Developing a Food Safety Index for Africa: As food systems transform and agricultural systems develop, countries need data-based evidence on their performance in critical areas such as food safety. With encouragement from A4NH researchers at ILRI and others, and support from a multidisciplinary team led by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), which included ILRI researchers, the African Union (AU) included a new Africa Food Safety Index in the second Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Biannual Review in 2019. With a strong response rate from member states, researchers are working as part of a team to evaluate and validate the index for robustness and usefulness to AU and to each of its member states. Learn more.
COVID-19 Offers Opportunity for India’s Food Systems to Deliver on Food Safety and Health: This blog by A4NH Senior Research Fellow Devesh Roy takes a look at how India can reap significant public health and economic benefits from a sustained effort to combat the problem of unsafe food. Learn more.
Hung Nguyen, ILRI scientist, and Ly Chi Nguyen, market vendor. Photo: CGIAR
Photo Story: A Healthy Change: Photo story from CGIAR details how A4NH food systems research puts safety first for transitioning markets in Vietnam. Learn more.
Training and Low-Cost Tech Cut Aflatoxin by 53 Percent: Aflatoxin exposure threatens food security throughout the developing world. This article by IFPRI Research Fellow Vivian Hoffman, which first appeared on SciDevNet sub-Saharan Africa edition, details how training and low-cost technology could help fight it, but further exploration of these on a larger scale is needed. Learn more.
More news, commentary, and research from A4NH on food safety can be found on the flagship's news page.
Learn more from ILRI, which leads A4NH research on food safety, by visiting their World Food Safety Day 2020 page.
In this piece originally published on The Conversation, the authors explore steps to address food safety, particularly in the context of informal markets.
Two studies in Kenya examine risk perceptions of aflatoxin in maize
Deadline to apply for WHO Food Safety TAG: August 21