Food safety

INFOSAN in action to control an outbreak of salmonellosis linked to infant formula

© WHO 2016

The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) is a global network of national food safety authorities, managed jointly by FAO and WHO. One of the main aims of INFOSAN is to facilitate the rapid exchange of information across borders when internationally traded food products are identified as unsafe for human consumption.

When an outbreak of salmonellosis infections among infants was recently identified in France, French authorities were able to link cases to the consumption of certain infant formula products, produced by a single manufacturer in France and contaminated with Salmonella Agona.

Recalls of the implicated infant formula products have been issued by French authorities and many of the affected products have been exported to over 40 countries and territories. The INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point in France rapidly shared the distribution details of the affected products with the INFOSAN Secretariat.

The INFOSAN Secretariat was able to immediately notify the INFOSAN Emergency Contact Points in the importing countries of the details of the infant formula to stop the distribution of contaminated products, and allow members around the world to implement appropriate risk management measures to prevent additional cases of illness.

International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN)

© WHO 2016

Increasing globalization of food trade increases the risk of contaminated food spreading quickly around the globe.
Through INFOSAN, WHO assists Member States in managing food safety risks, ensuring rapid sharing of information during food safety emergencies to stop the spread of contaminated food from one country to another. INFOSAN also facilitates the sharing experiences and tested solutions in and between countries in order to optimize future interventions to protect the health of consumers.

The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) is a global network of national food safety authorities, managed jointly by FAO and WHO with the secretariat in WHO. National authorities of 186 Member States are part of the network

New Science for Food Safety

Illustration: NTU

WHO and FAO co-sponsored a technical meeting, 7-10 November 2016, organized by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore for INFOSAN (International Food Safety Authorities Network) members in Asia and food safety regulators, academics and laboratory scientists experts from around the world.

Participants discussed the utilization of foodborne disease burden estimates, the application of next generation sequencing (NGS) in food safety, risk assessment and food fraud. The role of INFOSAN and the implications of new technologies/initiatives for the detection and response to food safety emergencies was also discussed.

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"Together with our public health partners in food safety, the information shared through INFOSAN has helped us identify emerging public health threats associated with specific food items, and respond to these threats in a timely and effective way."

Dr Derrick Heng, Ministry of Health, INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point, Singapore