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ADAFSA hosts WHO's 7th Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group meeting

ADAFSA hosts WHO's 7th Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group meeting
3 Apr 2024 12:25


The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has hosted the 7th Meeting of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) in Abu Dhabi.

FERG members and WHO representatives attended the meeting to discuss methodologies for estimating the burden of foodborne disease, indicators for monitoring global progress in reducing this burden, FERG work plans, progress, and next steps, and to share expertise and knowledge on assessing the burden of foodborne diseases.

In her opening speech, Mouza Suhail Al Muhairi, Deputy Director-General for Regulatory and Administrative Affairs at ADAFSA, welcomed the attendees and praised the achievements of the 6th meeting of the group, which paved the way for the finalisation of the 2025 global estimates of foodborne diseases.

Mouza Suhail Al Muhairi said: "Abu Dhabi is a vibrant city where food safety is the cornerstone of ensuring the wellbeing of the community. ADAFSA is committed to improving food safety at the local level, and we believe that international cooperation is necessary to address challenges related to food safety and security.

"The meeting discussed the best ways to estimate the burden of foodborne diseases and the possibility of developing strategies to reduce their impact. It also discussed mechanisms to protect human health from foodborne diseases worldwide.”

Al Muhairi reiterated that ADAFSA's vision extends beyond the emirate's borders, recognising the global reach of the silent threat posed by foodborne diseases.

She emphasised the significance of Abu Dhabi hosting the 7th FERG meeting and how it serves as a crucial step in bolstering international efforts to combat these dangerous diseases and solidifies the emirate and the UAE's position as key players in the global food safety landscape.

Dr Elaine Borghi, WHO representative at the meeting, commended the UAE, represented by ADAFSA, for hosting the event. Dr Borghi highlighted the importance of bringing together experts from around the world to share knowledge and experience on the burden of foodborne diseases and to formulate effective strategies to reduce their impact on public health.

On behalf of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, Borghi said: "The UAE's hosting of this meeting demonstrates its strong commitment to food safety and its close collaboration with WHO in the field of public health.

"Foodborne diseases pose an ongoing threat to our communities, human health and the economy, costing the global economy approximately $110 billion (over Dh403 billion) annually. Sustainability and building sustainable food systems cannot be achieved without addressing food safety concerns within the food chain.”

Dr Borghi outlined WHO's commitment to helping countries around the world reduce the burden of foodborne disease. In 2022, WHO Member States adopted the Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022-2030 for stronger food safety systems and global collaboration. WHO will work with partners around the world to implement this strategy.

The meeting participants delved into reviewing and analysing data collection methods, ultimately determining a methodology for estimating the burden of foodborne diseases at national, regional, and global levels. The meeting participants also developed indicators to monitor progress in reducing the burden, exchanged best practices, and formulated recommendations to strengthen food safety globally.


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