The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has formally recognized the UK’s expertise and leadership when it comes to shellfish safety. FAO has designated the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) as a Reference Center for Bivalve Mollusc Sanitation. 

According to a statement jointly published by Cefas and the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), this is the first time the FAO has designated a Reference Center in this area. The designation will help to support FAO’s vision for a globally unified system for shellfish safety, recognizing the importance of both wild caught and aquaculture production in global food security and future trade.  

“High standards in animal, environmental and public health depend on continuous vigilance based on the world-leading science carried out by Defra ([UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs]. Formal recognition of reference laboratory status means Defra’s science is among the very best in the world,” says Ian Boyd, Defra’s chief scientific advisor.

FSA works closely with Cefas on shellfish hygiene and supported their application to the FAO. The FAO designation is recognition of the important work Cefas carries out to protect consumers and support the shellfish industry.

“Investing in this level of trusted science and research is essential to producing food we can trust. We’re committed to working with Cefas to ensure shellfish is safe and sustainable in the UK and globally,” says Steve Wearne, FSA director of science and vice chair of the FAO’s Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The prestigious international designation follows an evaluation of the scientific, technical and policy capability and expertise at Cefas, in addition to a commitment to continued capacity development in this area. The award recognizes Cefas as world experts in this area and acknowledges the high scientific standards and years of expertise in the center.

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