Food and Environmental Protection

Food and Environmental Protection

The Food and Environmental Protection Section of the Joint Programme and its associated Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory of the FAO/IAEA Agricultural and Biotechnology Laboratory in Seibersdorf provide assistance and support to countries in their efforts to ensure the safety and quality of food and agricultural commodities and food security while at the same time facilitating international trade. Our activities primarily focus on strengthening Member State capacities for the application of international standards on irradiation as well as on the use of nuclear and related analytical technologies and capacity building in the control of food and environmental hazards as well as food traceability and authenticity. These efforts are based on a coordinated and comprehensive “farm to fork” approach to food production systems that ensure the application of good agricultural practices throughout the food chain.

Highlights
The ASEAN Fruit Phytosanitary Irradiation and Processing Centre ASEAN Fruit Phytosanitary Irradiation and Processing Centre. Food irradiation enables trade to fulfil phytosanitary requirements and is increasingly being used on a commercial scale. The China-ASEAN Fruit Phytosanitary Irradiation and Processing Centre in China is an excellent example of the technology in operation, where electron beam irradiation is being used also to prevent insect pests from spreading through trade in fresh produce.
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Costa Rica’s agricultural waste converted into charcoal to filter and dispose of polluting agricultural chemicals Costa Rica’s agricultural waste converted into charcoal to filter and dispose of polluting agricultural chemicals. Burning agricultural waste in a controlled environment to make charcoal and then using that charcoal to filter leftover agrochemicals before disposing of them is just one of the steps taken to clean up chemical contamination that pollutes the soil and water of central Costa Rica. In addition, Costa Rican farmers are being trained in Good Agricultural Practices that result in safe and high-quality agricultural products. Read More »
Farmer training and testing for veterinary drug residues improve Pakistan’s reputation in international food trade Farmer training and testing for veterinary drug residues improve Pakistan’s reputation in international food trade. Imagine having to tell a poor farmer that a full pail of fresh milk must be thrown out. The problem is, in many parts of the world, this scenario actually should happen more often than it does. It all has to do with how and when a farmer administers veterinary drugs to a dairy cow before milking. Administering drugs to maintain the health and welfare of dairy cattle may be necessary but, if not done properly, chances are that the drug will also be present in the milk. Read More »
IAEA Impact: How Nuclear Science Helps Botswana Control Animal Diseases, Ensure Food Safety and Maintain its Beef Exports How Nuclear Science Helps Botswana Control Animal Diseases, Ensure Food Safety and Maintain its Beef Exports. In Botswana, cattle is a way of life. Owning cattle and selling animals when money is tight provide the livelihood for much of the rural population and represent an important supplementary income for city dwellers. When in 2008 the European Union (EU) tightened sanitary requirements on beef imports, Botswana’s second largest export industry came to the verge of losing its most important and lucrative market. Since then, the use of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques, introduced with support from the IAEA in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has enabled the country to put in place veterinary and food safety surveillance systems that meet EU requirements. Read More »

Previous Highlights

Present activities focus on:

  • The application of harmonized national regulations for sanitary and phytosanitary applications of irradiation on the basis of international standards.
  • The revision and application of harmonized regulations related to radionuclide levels in foods.
  • The application of harmonized national regulations related to good laboratory practices and analytical procedures for food contaminants and residues, including pesticides and veterinary drugs.
  • Food traceability and authenticity.
  • The application of harmonized international guidance related to nuclear preparedness and response to nuclear or radiological events, including the application of appropriate agricultural countermeasures.

These activities are undertaken in four main areas, namely, coordination and support in research, providing technical and advisory services, providing laboratory support and training and collecting, analyzing and disseminating information. Our activities are implemented through Coordinated Research Projects, Technical Cooperation Projects, Meetings and Training Courses, eLearning courses, and Publications.