Food safety included in One Health Plan 2022-2026

The first One Health Joint Plan of Action 2022 to 2026 (OH JPA) has been recently released by the Quadripartite Organizations – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO) – to drive the change required to mitigate the impact of current and future health challenges in the human, animal, plant and environment sectors.  

The OH JPA builds on, complements and adds value to existing global and regional One Health and coordination initiatives aimed at strengthening capacity to address complex multidimensional health risks with more resilient health systems at global, regional and national level.  

The document investigates six different areas, including food safety risks, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic epidemics, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  

The report highlights some critical aspects related to the contamination of water, the risks for the environment, the management of food waste, and the different hazards (e.g. zoonotic and non-zoonotic pathogens, chemical contaminants) that can enter the food chain.  

The section about food safety risks (action track 4) aims to promote awareness, policy changes and action coordination among stakeholders to ensure that humans, animals and ecosystems achieve health and remain healthy in their interactions with and along the food supply chain. To reach this goal, there are three sub-actions planned:  
1. Strengthen the One Health approach in national food control systems and food safety coordination  
2. Utilize and improve food systems data and analysis, scientific evidence and risk assessment in developing policy and making integrated risk management decisions  
3. Foster the adoption of the One Health approach in national foodborne disease surveillance systems and research for the detection and monitoring of foodborne disease and food contamination  

The action track about food safety risks is both complementary to and synergistic with the other action tracks as food and live animals are subject to contamination or infection from the environment (action track 6), foodborne bacteria are becoming more resistant to antimicrobials (action track 5), some foodborne infections are new and emerging (action track 2), while others are neglected, underlining the need for integrated health approaches (action track 3).