Worldwide Agencies

Although not a regulator in the truest sense, the World Health Organization (WHO) establishes policy and makes recommendations regarding the safety of the world food supply through its Food Safety Department (FOS). A primary focus of the FOS is the reduction of the negative impact of food-borne disease worldwide. Recently, a resolution was adopted by WHO to recognize food safety as an essential public health function, and to develop a global strategy to reduce the burden of food-borne diseases. Because the responsibility for food safety is often divided among several agencies with overlapping authority, there have been many challenges in solving the problems of worldwide food-borne disease. To address these challenges, the FOS

is developing an integrated production-to-consumption approach to food safety for its 192 member states. The approach is patterned after the FDA-sponsored HACCP program.

Other activities of the FOS include monitoring food, air, and water-supply pollution; observing food manufacturing and processing for the presence of additives and contaminants; conducting research on the safety of genetically modified foods; amassing larger food and supply inventories for countries to access in times of disaster; and assisting with the management of malicious contamination of food for terrorist purposes.

Other international agencies include:

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)
  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission
  • European Union Food Safety Policy Committee
  • The World Food Safety Organization.

In conclusion, various aspects of the U.S. food supply are monitored by the USDA, FDA, CDC, and EPA. These federal agencies collaborate with state and local governments, as well as with nonprofit organizations, private businesses, and individuals to oversee the safety of the food supply for the United States. While each of these agencies also works with foreign countries to assist in the quest for a safe food supply worldwide, the WHO functions in a policymaking capacity for its 192 members, and provides a greater overall international presence in this effort. The importance of securing the safety and security of food for all countries of the world will continue to be of great importance, as commerce becomes more global and more new products are introduced through bioengineering and other means. The regulation and monitoring of the continuum from grower to consumer will require a great deal of collaboration among all countries of the world in order to be successful. see also Food Safety; Health Claims.

Claire D. Schmelzer

Internet Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "About CDC." Available from <http://>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Food Safety Office." Available from <>

  1. S. Department of Agriculture. "Welcome to the United States Department of Agriculture." Available from <>
  2. S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Library. "Food and Nutrition Information Center." Available from <>
  3. S. Department of Health and Human Services. "HHS: What We Do." Available from <>
  4. S. Environmental Protection Agency. "About EPA." Available from <http://www.>
  5. S. Food and Drug Administration. "About the U.S. Food and Drug Administration." Available from <>
  6. S. Food and Drug Administration (2003). "Progress Report to Secretary Tommy G. Thompson: Ensuring the Safety and Security of the Nation's Food Supply." Available from <>
  7. S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point." Available from <http://www.cfsan.fda. gov/>

World Health Organization. "Food Safety." Available from foodsafety/en/>

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