Biosecurity In Food and Agriculture

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R. Ivess

Biosecurity is a key requirement for achieving the goals set out in the FAO Strategic Framework by promoting, developing and re-enforcing policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. Biosecurity has direct relevance to food safety, the conservation of the environment (including biodiversity), and sustainability of agriculture. Biosecurity encompasses all policy and regulatory frameworks (including instruments and activities) to manage risks associated with food and agriculture (including relevant environmental risks) including fisheries and forestry and constitutes three sectors (namely food safety, plant life and health, and animal life and health). These sectors include food production in relation to food safety the introduction of plant pests animal pests and diseases and zoonoses the introduction and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their products and the introduction and safe management of invasive alien species and genotypes.

Growing interest in Biosecurity is a result of major international developments such as globalization of the world economy, the rapid increase in volume of communications, transport and trade, technological progress and growing awareness of problems faced by biological diversity and environment. Members require effective efficient improved and updated international frameworks and standards to support appropriate national action. Members also require national frameworks to regulate manage and control biosecurity for food and agriculture including forestry and fisheries thus permitting practical implementation increasing cost effectiveness and improving consistency across sectors.

Recent developments related to biosecurity in food and agriculture include the tendency toward integration of and cooperation across sectors. Internationally this tendency is demonstrated in the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It is further addressed in the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The IPPC makes a key contribution to biosecurity by reducing the risks of introduction of plant pests that may affect agriculture and the environment.