Urban food systems. Vietnam. Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT
A GLOBAL BURDEN
Globally, foodborne disease is responsible for an enormous health burden. Food safety challenges require the crafting of specific or more generic cost-effective solutions. Coupled with broader policy research these steps could influence tens of millions of consumers, millions of farmers and thousands of market agents in Africa and Asia.
In 2016, the Government of Vietnam requested assistance from the World Bank and partners to assess food safety risks and provide policy recommendations on how to improve food safety risk management. CGIAR mobilized a thorough review of the food safety situation in Vietnam, which analyzed the risks for selected key food value chains, and provided recommendations to improve food safety.
This partnership with the World Bank follows years of collaborative work, which the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has conducted in Vietnam to build awareness and capacity for using risk assessment in food safety management. Risk assessment, a scientific process for identifying the known or potential adverse health effects of being exposed to hazards that may come from food production, preparation or consumption, is widely accepted as the gold standard for assessing, managing and communicating risks. However, in Vietnam, there was limited capacity for using risk assessment approaches in food safety. In 2013, ILRI, as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health’s work on food safety, helped to establish the National Task Force of Food Safety Risk Assessment. The initiative, which was institutionalized by Hanoi University of Public Health in 2016, seeks to strengthen the capacity of national researchers, particularly at the Ministry of Health and Agriculture and Rural Development. Recently, the project has helped to produce country specific guidelines for chemical and microbial risk assessment, and published the first quantitative microbial risk assessment for pork in Vietnam, as well as a complementary chemical risk assessment.