SAFOSO Director Katharina Stärk was honoured to be one of the plenary speakers at ISVEE15, Chiang Mai, Thailand, in early November 2018. The title of her presentation was “Assuring food safety in a globalised world – are we ready?” Food chains are becoming more complex due to the diversity and location of actors involved and their trans-boundary and trans-continental nature. The benefits of such food systems also come at the cost of increased risks. The latter are not limited to biological and chemical hazards and their emergence, spread and management. Complex food systems also harbour other challenges such as traceability, food scares, governance and fair distribution of profit. While surveillance, risk assessment and other epidemiological approaches can provide useful evidence to facilitate the functioning of global food systems, other aspects are currently not well integrated. As a consequence, the vulnerability of food markets is increasing. In the future, more integrated and novel strategies are needed to assure not only the safety but also the resilience of global food systems and thus – ultimately – consumer trust.
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