Eurachem Blog

Food Safety: everyone’s business and Eurachem’s business as usual!

Eurachem joins the celebration of the second World Food Safety Day (7 June 2020), promoted by the UN Agencies FAO and WHO, aimed, under the theme "Food safety, everyone’s business!", to promote global food safety awareness and to inspire actions at all levels to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks.

What is food safety? A definition is "the absence — or safe, acceptable levels — of hazards in food that may harm the health of consumers." Measurements and tests provide accountable evidence of potential risks and form the basis for informed decisions and the assessment of compliance with regulations. These decisions on food safety compliance need to be taken at each stage of the increasingly long chain from farm to fork, such as harvesting, breeding, processing, storing, transporting and retail distribution. Correct decisions make sure that unsafe foodstuffs do not enter the food chain and prevent incorrect rejection and waste of safe food.

To achieve food safety at a global level, measurement and test results need to be reliable and comparable across space and time, that is, traceable to the same stated references (metrological traceability). The cycle of measurement and testing, however, goes beyond the food sample pre-treatment and analysis. To achieve meaningful results, attention needs to be paid to all steps contributing to the final interpretation of the result, for example, the estimation of measurement uncertainty arising from both the primary sampling and the chemical analysis, its use in the assessment of compliance, and the validation of the analytical methods toward a stated target uncertainty.

For over 30 years Eurachem has provided a forum for analytical laboratories and other interested parties, to discuss all issues related to the cycle of measurement, aiming to support metrological traceability and best quality practices in analytical sciences. From these discussions, carried out in numerous workshops, devoted to various aspects of current practices and future developments in analytical quality, as well as from the work of experts addressing the comments from these discussions, Eurachem produces authoritative guidance and makes it freely available on its website.

Eurachem supports EU initiatives for food safety, for example METROFOOD-RI, an EU research infrastructure for promoting metrology in food and nutrition. At an international level, Eurachem contributes, as an observer, to the work of the FAO/WHO Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS aims to establish harmonised acceptability criteria for such methods across partners, taking also into account sampling plans and procedures, as well as guidelines for quality assurance systems and proficiency assessment of food laboratories).

Marina Patriarca
June 7th 2020

Further Food Safety Day resources and information


FAO and WHO Video links