Food safety

New WHO guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals

The new WHO recommendations aim to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics that are important for human medicine by reducing their unnecessary use in animals. “A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious as a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak”, says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

Strengthening the integrated surveillance of AMR with One Health approach

Hokkaido University

A global workshop was organized on 12-14 September 2017 in Sapporo, Japan, to strengthen the integrated surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in the food chain by taking a One Health approach. With the assistance of the Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (AGISAR), 16 country research projects will be carried out to build a stronger national AMR integrated surveillance programme.

New Codex work on maximum levels of mercury in fish

FAO/Abdelhak Senna

The 40th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) held in Geneva (17-22 July 2017), decided to start new work to establish maximum levels of methylmercury for certain fish. Mercury, a naturally occurring element, can harm human health in various ways and have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems of humans, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. The most harmful form is methylmercury, which can accumulate in certain fish species.

Making better use of food contamination data


WHO developed a distance learning tool (DLT) in collaboration with the Chulabhorn Research Institute (Bangkok, Thailand), a WHO Collaborating Centre. This tool enables scientists and risk managers to access and analyse the food contamination data submitted to the Global Environment Monitoring System- Food contamination monitoring and assessment programme (GEMS/Food). Through this initiative WHO continues to work with Member States and reduce the chemical contamination of food.