International food risk communication center formed

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

International food safety authorities have set up a new organization with the aim of creating a collective international resource providing communication materials about food risks along the supply chain.

The organization, the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication (ICEFRC), includes global food and health organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit communication experts. The founding partners include four US-based organizations – the International Food Information Council Foundation, the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and the United States Department of Agriculture – as well as Health Canada, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

“In order to have effective food risk communication, stakeholders should share knowledge and understanding about potential risk in a manner that helps individuals make well-informed decisions,”​ the organization said on its website​. “It is a practice that is relevant to situations encountered every day, such as weight management or washing your hands, as well as rare situations, such as intentional contamination of the food supply.”

The ICEFRC said its main goals are making enabling informed decisions about food safety, nutrition, and health by improving food risk communication; bringing together credible and influential authorities to increase their reach and effectiveness; and “contributing to the international body of knowledge on food risk communication”.

Japan radiation risk

The existence of the organization and its website (www.foodriskcommunications.org​) was announced on Thursday, and the first issue that is addressed on the site is international food safety following Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency. The communication document includes a brief overview of international actions taken to protect the food supply from radiation risk and reiterates the World Health Organization’s caution against self-medication with potassium iodide or products containing iodine.

The Washington, D.C.-based International Food Information Council (IFIC), a non-profit organization that has the stated aim of providing science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety, said it will work closely with other founding international partners as the primary facilitator of the center, and will manage its website.

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