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Lucy Robertson

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway

Parasites in Food - The issue and how to control

Parasites are neglected and overlooked among foodborne pathogens. There are various reasons for this, but these include that foodborne parasites (FBP) are often associated with impoverished or marginalized populations, and the effects of many FBP are insidious and chronic rather than acute. In addition, for some parasites, transmission can be by a variety of different routes, and, due to the prolonged incubation period between infection and the appearance of clinical signs (from days up to months or even years or decades, depending on parasite), source attribution is difficult. Furthermore, the plethora of very different FBP, the difficulties with diagnosis of infection for some, and, for many FBP, the lack of adequate methods for identifying them in food, all add together to give a complex picture for which proper understanding is usually fragmentary, even among “experts”. However, with global challenges such as climate change, extensive international travel, and complex food import and export chains stretching between and within countries, the significance of FBP is beginning to be recognised.
This presentation will try to provide a “snap shot” overview of some of the more important FBP, their global burden, and current thoughts regarding control. The aim of this presentation is to bring FBP closer into the spotlight. Control can only be achieved by knowledge, and this will only be gained when there is global cooperation between experts, and those concerned with food safety and control become aware of the extent and complexity of the FBP problem.

Lucy Robertson

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway

Lucy Robertson

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway

Biography

Lucy Robertson, Professor of Parasitology and leader of the Parasitology Group at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, has over 30 years of experience in parasitology. She has particular interest and experience in foodborne, zoonotic parasitic infections and has participated in various national and international groups concerned with foodborne transmission of parasites, including the European Food Safety Authority and the “expert group” for WHO and FAO on foodborne parasites. In addition, she has recently completed chairing the COST Action on foodborne parasites (Euro-FBP) and has over 100 publications on this topic.

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