CSPI Announces Food-Safety Conference at the WHO

Officials & Advocates from Around the World Meeting in Geneva Next Month

May 24, 2005

Food-safety advocates and experts from around the world will convene next month at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference, Crafting a Public Health Agenda for Modern Food Safety Systems, is organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and will mark the first formal discussion among consumer organizations about developing and advocating for food safety standards that will reduce deaths and illnesses and help prevent food emergencies.

The conference will feature keynote addresses by Dr. Stuart Slorach, chairman of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Mr. Geoffrey Podger, the chairman of the European Food Safety Authority, and Dr. Maria Neira, head of the Spanish Food Safety Organization. Participants are coming from Uganda, China, New Zealand, India, Cameroon, Poland, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and elsewhere for the landmark meeting.

"In a global economy, the food for a single meal may come from several continents and travel half way around the world," said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal. "No country, not even the United States, can inspect every food shipment at every port of entry to monitor food safety. The effort to improve food safety must be both local and global. A successful campaign to make food safer in South America or Africa will also mean safer food for U.S. and European consumers."

CSPI, the nonprofit food-safety and nutrition watchdog group with offices in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, created Safe Food International to empower consumer organizations in each region of the world to advocate for strong and sensible food-safety policies in their home countries and to develop an international network for future communication and advocacy. Draft food-safety-promotion guidelines can be viewed at www.safefoodinternational.org/reports.html. Cosponsored by the WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations, the meeting runs from June 8 to 10.


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