UK sets up network to address food safety issues

A food safety network has been set up in the UK to try to reduce the burden of food poisoning.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have invested £1.6 million ($2 million) in the platform, which will be hosted by the Quadram Institute.

UK estimates show there are 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness a year with an annual cost of £9 billion ($11.1 billion), of which £6 billion (7 .4 billion) from unknown causes.

Campylobacter and Salmonella have the greatest economic impact, but Listeria has the highest mortality rate.

The UK Food Safety Research Network will connect industry, food and health policy makers and academia on common research priorities to protect the UK from foodborne risks. It will coordinate and fund cross-sector work and training that responds to current and emerging challenges.

Matt Gilmour, Cluster Leader and Network Leader of the Quadram Institute, said food safety is threatened by persistent and emerging threats.

“This threat is exemplified by microbes spreading between the environment, animals and humans, with foodborne exposures being a means of transmission of pathogens and new antimicrobial resistance genes from agriculture. “, did he declare.

“The challenge is to take an integrated and unified approach to these issues from agriculture and the environment to food production and human health, in what is called a One Health approach. To do this, we must collaborate with the food industry and other associated industries to share research and innovation and provide training activities.

Helps fight foodborne illnesses
Network members will identify areas of research that will have significant impacts on food security in the UK and share the knowledge generated within the network with food security stakeholders

“Foodborne illness is a major cause of illness in the UK population and imposes a significant burden on both those infected and on the economy,” said Robin May, chief scientific adviser at the FSA.

“The network will ensure that the FSA is well placed to address foodborne disease challenges by bringing together experts from government, industry and academia to address current and emerging food safety issues in the UK. “

Melanie Welham, executive chair of the BBSRC, said food poisoning had a major impact on people’s health and on the economy.

“The new UK Food Safety Research Network presents a tangible and exciting opportunity for collaborations between a range of experts to improve our understanding of foodborne illness and identify new ways to predict, prevent, to effectively respond to and recover from such illnesses in the future.”

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