Safe Food Today for Healthy Diets Tomorrow: Feed the Future Commemorates World Food Safety Day
This post is written by Kelley Cormier, division chief of the Division for Food Safety, Center for Nutrition, USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS).
The past year has been unprecedented, to say the least. But despite the challenges we've faced, I am proud of how USAID and our partners have advanced a global food safety agenda that is inextricably linked to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to good health and well-being, ending hunger and ending poverty. Last year, in commemoration of World Food Safety Day, we launched USAID’s Division for Food Safety within the Center for Nutrition. The moment marked an elevation of food safety as an agency development priority during a time when disruptions to food systems and nutrition services as a result of the COVID-19 crisis were commanding our attention. Since then, the Center for Nutrition has been leading the agency’s efforts to address food safety risks where we work.
USAID’s focus on food safety prioritizes healthy diets, food systems and mitigating risk. The evidence is clear that to achieve healthy diets for the most vulnerable and build food systems that are sustainable and resilient, food must be safe as well as nutritious. By expanding the tools and capacities that enable USAID and our partners to identify and address priority food safety practices throughout food systems, we are demonstrating how a multisectoral nutrition approach can prevent malnutrition and economic backsliding.
I want to highlight three key ways USAID is advancing food safety:
- We created the RFS Food Systems Conceptual Framework (see page 13 of the technical brief linked below) in the summer of 2020 that shows how investments across the sectors of agriculture, nutrition, resilience and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can contribute to food systems that deliver healthy diets. This tool reveals the central role of food safety in food's pathway from producers to consumers to achieve our goals of ending hunger, poverty and malnutrition.
- We developed a food safety technical brief to inspire and guide the integration of food safety interventions within agriculture, nutrition, resilience and WASH programming. This technical brief outlines steps USAID Missions can take to adopt a risk-based approach when incorporating food safety into strategic programming.
- We are developing and testing food safety activity-level metrics to measure the impacts of proven safe food systems approaches. We will apply this evidence base to scale approaches in the future. This effort has required an all-hands-on-deck approach with food safety partners. This is not our agenda alone. On June 15, I will join the Food Systems Summit 2021 Listening Session: A New Public-Private Partnership to Improve Food Safety Capacity Building to reinforce the call to action for improved monitoring, evaluation and learning of food safety interventions.
Looking ahead, USAID will continue our work with diverse interagency and development partners to support Mission programming that increases the safety, accessibility and affordability of healthy diets where risks are highest to the most vulnerable. We will implement best practices in private sector engagement and donor engagement that align resources to advance impact at scale. We will continue to advance a research agenda that informs policy. And we will intensify the way we monitor, evaluate and learn from food safety activities.
Today, we commemorate World Food Safety Day. But we are taking advantage of the whole month of June to focus our attention on food safety on Agrilinks. Please learn with us and engage with the content as we work toward a future of safe food and healthy diets.