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When it comes to food safety, we all have a part to play

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News of 03/04/2015

This year, World Health Day will be held on April 7th. Organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), its focus will be on food safety, which is one of ANSES's primary topics. From farm to fork, we all have a part to play in food safety. In the context of this event, the Agency is offering a series of easy hygiene tips to apply in the kitchen to help you avoid food poisoning. And on its website, Twitter and LinkedIn, you will also find its recommendations for organising your refrigerator, preparing and storing baby bottles and enjoying barbecues in the safest way possible.

Numerous micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites), including Salmonella, Campylobacter, certain Escherichia coli, hepatic viruses and Anisakis, can contaminate foods and cause disease. France's integrated control approach to risk throughout the food chain has made it an exemplary player in the food safety field, thanks to a system of accountability for all those involved "from farm to fork". Measures implemented by the health authorities and the food sector have led to a marked reduction in the main foodborne illnesses.

In addition to the well-known risks, it is also important to be vigilant concerning emerging risks, for which scientific uncertainties still remain (endocrine disruptors, the "cocktail effect" phenomenon, co-exposure to different substances, nanomaterials, etc.). ANSES works diligently to counter these new risks through research and assessment work as well as through investigations as close as possible to the realities in the field.

"From farm to fork, everyone has an important role to play"

In the context of this year's World Health Day, dedicated to food safety and hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), ANSES wishes to remind consumers that they also have an important role to play when it comes to food safety.

In 2012, 33% of food poisoning outbreaks reported in France occurred within a family setting. Furthermore, the well-known risks that are already under control still require constant monitoring due to regular changes in eating habits and consumer behaviours.

In fact, in the last few decades, eating habits have evolved drastically. For example, there has been an increase in consumption of raw meat- and fish-based dishes, marinated or prepared Japanese-style (tartares, carpaccio, sushi). This new trend requires special care regarding the origin, freshness and preparation of foods.


Stock up on helpful hints all throughout the day 

Would you like to learn more about kitchen hygiene? Are you wondering which refrigerator shelf is best for storing fresh foods, eggs or vegetables? Need advice on the proper way to prepare your baby's formula bottle? And what should you choose for tonight's dinner menu: steak tartare or a well-done burger? Do you know the ideal temperature for cooking foods? And what about the temperature of your refrigerator? Do you know why you should avoid eating very well-done chips?

On its website and via the social networks, ANSES explains all you need to know, all throughout this special day!

Dr. Margaret Chan (WHO) and Marc Mortureux (ANSES) launch World Health Day together at the Rungis International Market

For World Health Day on April 7, dedicated this year to food safety, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, and Marc Mortureux, Director General of ANSES, will be at the Rungis International Market starting at 6:45 am. Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll and Director General for Health Benoit Vallet will also be present. The event will be an opportunity for them to share their ideas on the constant challenges posed by food safety, as well as to discuss the role of WHO, and more generally the role of all the sector's stakeholders, including the scientific agencies that provide expert assessment and expertise for risk evaluation, research and standardisation.

This day will also be an opportunity to strengthen ties between ANSES and WHO in order to continue improving consumer protection from day to day while anticipating the risks of tomorrow.

ANSES's missions in the area of food and diet 

  • Assess the nutritional risks and benefits of foods and their ingredients
  • Monitor eating habits (INCA surveys) 
  • Asses foodborne exposure to chemical contaminants (TDS)
  • Perform nutritional surveillance and monitoring activities (OQALI, nutrivigilance, ORP)
  • Contribute to the drafting of public health objectives and recommendations
  • Provide surveillance for major and emerging foodborne pathogens and help improve diagnostic and control methods (through our laboratory network)
  • Assess the safety of water intended for human consumption
  • Produce reference documents enabling industry players to identify microbiological hazards and assess the effectiveness of specific control measures proposed or implemented by the food sector 
  • Provide scientific and technical support to administrative bodies for establishing surveillance and control plans in the field