Food safety

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.

Just released: Integrated Surveillance of AMR in Foodborne Bacteria


WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (AGISAR) has published the new guidance on integrated surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in foodborne bacteria. Addressing antimicrobial resistance from the food chain requires multisectoral One Health approach. Similar to 2013 guidance, the present revised guidance provides the basic information that countries need in order to establish programmes of integrated surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in foodborne bacteria by using a step-by-step approach.

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.

WHO list of Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Medicine (CIA list)

WHO has just published the 5th revision of the CIA list. The CIA list is intended for all stakeholders involved in managing antimicrobial resistance to ensure that all antimicrobials, especially critically important antimicrobials, are used prudently both in human and veterinary medicine. In this revision, classes of drugs categorized as highest priority critically important antimicrobials are quinolones, third and higher generation cephalosporins, macrolides/ketolides, glycopeptides and polymyxins. Polymyxins were newly added because of the increasing usage of colistin globally, the discovery of mcr-1 and mcr-2 genes, and the spread of colistin resistant bacteria via the food chain. See the full report for more information.