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Nuclear Technologies Essential for Food Security, FAO Chief

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu highlighted the crucial role of nuclear technologies in ensuring food security and transforming agrifood systems at the "International Symposium on Food Safety and Control" in Vienna.

KJ Staff
Nuclear Technologies Essential for Food Security, FAO Chief (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Nuclear Technologies Essential for Food Security, FAO Chief (Photo Source: Pixabay)

QU Dongyu, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has highlighted the importance of controlling food safety from the very beginning of the food production process. He underscored the critical role that nuclear technologies can play in establishing science-based food standards.

“Nuclear technologies are essential tools for measuring, managing, and controlling food safety, and they complement the One Health approach,” Qu stated. He noted that food safety and food supply are fundamental to transforming agrifood systems.

Qu's remarks were made via a video message at the opening of the "International Symposium on Food Safety and Control" held in Vienna. This event, running from May 27 to 31, 2024, is organized by the FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through their Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. 

Under the theme “Safe Food for a Better Life,” the symposium aims to underscore the significant role of nuclear techniques in enhancing food safety and agricultural productivity. It also provides a platform for information exchange among researchers, officials, and other key stakeholders from both developed and developing nations.

Nuclear technologies offer unique and competitive solutions to combat hunger, reduce malnutrition, promote environmental sustainability, and ensure the safety and authenticity of food. The FAO and IAEA have a strategic partnership to assist member countries in utilizing these technologies effectively and safely.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, together with its Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory, supports and coordinates applied research through over 25 coordinated research projects annually, involving more than 400 international and national research institutions and experimental stations. Additionally, the Centre backs more than 200 national and regional technical cooperation projects each year, transferring these technologies to member countries.

The FAO/IAEA Laboratories are at the forefront of applied and adaptive research and development, providing standards, protocols, guidelines, training, and specialized services. The joint Centre has been crucial in leveraging nuclear technologies to tackle crucial issues such as soil fertility, water management, pest control, and food safety. This partnership has led to significant advancements, including the development of improved crop varieties, more effective pest management strategies, and enhanced food safety protocols.

The Symposium represents a major milestone in the ongoing collaboration between FAO and IAEA, highlighting the profound impact of nuclear technology on global food and agriculture.

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