WHO guides support limited food testing in the Pacific

Food Safety News

There is a varied and often limited ability to test food and manage foodborne hazards in the Pacific, according to WHO.

The World Health Organization (WHO) looked at the food analysis capacity of Pacific Island countries. These nations are often vulnerable to food safety incidents and emergencies because of their geography and dependence on food imports.

The costs of establishing and operating food laboratories are relatively high. Considering the limited number of food samples tested in most Pacific Island countries, it is not practical for them to have sophisticated labs. Food is rarely tested to protect domestic consumers. It is generally only analyzed after it has become the potential source of a complaint or an illness.

WHO said it was crucial appropriate labs are identified prior to a food safety incident or emergency. A guide lists considerations for selecting referral labs and submitting samples to them.

Several nations have implemented sampling and testing of environmental water and fish and fishery products to facilitate the export of fish products. Fiji and Solomon Islands were among the first to undertake such routine analyses to meet European Union requirements.

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