Previous Fora / 2011

KASUGA, Fumiko

Vice-President in charge of International Affairs, Science Council of Japan

Dr. Fumiko Kasuga obtained her PhD from the University of Tokyo in 1988 and is Section Chief at National Institute of Health Sciences, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.
Specialized in food safety as a doctor of veterinary medicine, particularly focusing on microbiological risk assessment of foodborne hazards and foodborne disease epidemiology, Dr. Kasuga has been dedicating herself to various aspects where “Science for Society” could bring the fruits of science to our society through science-based decisions by government, industry and consumers in the most beneficial way.  Her zealous activities cover not only scientific researches, but also the international involvements through organizations such as FAO, WHO, ICMSF (The International Commission on Microbiological Specification for Food) and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). Through these activities, she has been contributing to developing harmonized framework of food safety management in the world, considering both food safety and fair trade of foods and caring most vulnerable populations with insufficient nutrition and at risk of foodborne diseases.



17:00-19:00 18 NOVember
PARALLEL THEMATIC SESSION III. Brazil: “Sustainable Food Production”

Securing global food safety and fair trade
Food should be wholesome, nutritious and delicious, is a critical element for our lives and can bring happiness to a person, to family and to the population. Producing and eating safe food is a basic recognition among all of us. However, as a reality, hazards that are contained in or attached to foods are taking away our health or even lives every day in the world. According to the estimates by World Health Organization (WHO), foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases are causing about 2.2 million deaths annually, 1.9 million of them are children. In addition to young children, elderly and the immunocompromised people, and those under mal-nutritious conditions are at risk for foodborne diseases, which is a growing public health concern in the world.
Various fields of science have been developing theories and technologies to overcome this situation, and multi-dimensional approaches for food safety have been taken at the regulation and industry levels based on science. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) identifies safe practices at farming level. Important information of possible hazards at the production stage of foods is shared among relevant international organizations; e.g. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), WHO and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) are working closely on avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases. Modern technologies of food production enable industry to efficiently kill harmful microbes, and to store and transport foods for long time and for long distance without loosing their quality and safety. More integrated food safety management is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. Its concept is to control whole processes from the receipt of the ingredients to the shipment of the final products, by identifying critical control points and the control limits, and not to rely on the end product testing.
Recently, science has more focused on risk, the impact on consumers’ health as the result of food consumption. Large outbreaks of foodborne disease draw media attention and raise consumer concern. However, as the cases of foodborne illness occurring daily are not always reported, the true size of the problem is usually unknown. Progresses of epidemiology can help understand the real public health problems, which can be used as the foundation of every further policy decision. World Trade Organization (WTO), through its agreement on plant/animal and human health, has encouraged member states to conduct risk assessment based on sound science. Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), an inter-government organization for establishing food standards, has developed guidelines for risk assessment of foodborne hazards, which can also provide effectiveness assessments on possible control measures. The aim of Codex is to protect both consumers’ health and fair trade of foods.  By conducting risk assessment, equivalence between different measures in different countries and regions can be evaluated. Risk-based framework for food safety can protect both health of domestic people and the food industry in the country, which will in the end promote sustainable food production.