Case Story


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Initiative Name:
Strengthening Food Safety Management Systems in the Americas
Initiative Status:
Implementation phase / on-going
Adaptation, replication or scaling up of a previous initiative?
Modality of the initiative:
Disease Prevention and Control
Food safety, Inocuidad de alimentos

Geographic Identifiers

Countries Leading or Providing Technical Cooperation:
Latin American and Caribbean Countries
Countries Demanding Technical Cooperation:
Latin American and Caribbean Countries
Participating National Institutions, Organizations and/or Subregional Entities:
Ministries of Health,Ministries of Agriculture,Center of Excellence and National Reference Institutions and Laboratories,U.S. Centers for Disease Control,USAID,US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),Association of Public Health Laboratories in the US (APHL)
Participating International and Multilateral Organizations:
Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO),UN Food and Argiculture Organization (FAO)
Initiative Start Date:

Initiative Description

Food safety management is a critically important capacity for countries to develop to improve the health of their populations. Diarrheal diseases are the second largest killer of children world-wide, and an important portion of these diarrheal cases are due to the consumption of contaminated food. Many outbreaks of food-borne infections are never identified and food-borne illnesses may not even be diagnosed in many countries without fully developed food safety management systems. Food safety is an issue that expands well beyond public health, with ramifications for agricultural sectors, commerce sectors and international trade as well. Because food safety management transcends physical borders, it is a public health issue is most effectively dealt with through horizontal partnerships between countries and strong international networks. The active collaborative networks in food safety management in the Americas exemplify what cooperation among countries in health can do for capacity development at the national level.

The Pan American Health Organization’s technical cooperation in food safety management has been to strengthen and encourage active participation in existing regional and global networking systems among countries for food safety and management. Through these networks critical information and technology are exchanged, common methodologies and protocols are developed, good practices are shared, regional markets are created for laboratory reagents, and resources (financial, human and material) are mobilized. Information and experiences regarding food safety management have been shared not only throughout the region but also around the globe. Peer learning and interaction occurs within these collaborative networks, creating a global network of practitioners who are in regular communication with one another. From high-end technologies, like Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) Fingerprint technology, to basic laboratory protocols, these networks encourage equity, accessibility to technology and information and quality control for the food safety management systems of the Americas.

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Additional Material:


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Contact Information:

Name of Contact Person:
Dr. Enrique Perez, Advisor on Food Safety at the PAHO office in Panama
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)