Food Safety Is Everyone’s Business: WHO
“Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Food-borne diseases impede socio-economic development by straining health care systems and harming national economies, tourism and trade’’
It is everyone’s business,’’ says the World Health Organization (WHO) which has released figures that estimate 600 million cases of food-borne diseases occur annually worldwide. This translates into one in 10 people falling ill after eating contaminated food.
What is Food Safety?
Food safety is the absence of safe acceptable levels of hazards in food that may harm the health of consumers. Food-borne hazards can be microbiological, chemical or physical in nature and are often invisible to the plain eye: bacteria, viruses or pesticide residues are some examples. Food safety has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.
Food Safety and the United Nations
The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) is the only international organization overseeing food safety along all aspects of the food chain.
Through a longstanding partnership, FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) support global food safety and protect consumers’ health. FAO generally addresses food safety issues along the food chain during production and processing, while WHO typically oversees relationships with the public health sector. Safeguarding food so that it is safe to eat doesn’t stop with its purchase though. At home, consumers have a part to play in making sure that what they eat remains safe.
Cognizant of the urgent need to raise awareness at all levels and to promote and facilitate actions for global food safety, the General Assembly decided to designate 7 June as World Food Safety Day.
Why Do We Mark International Days?
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
2019 Theme: Food Safety, Everyone’s Business
The theme of this year’s inaugural World Food Safety Day invites us to recognize that food safety is everyone’s business. The way in which food is produced, stored, handled and consumed affects the safety of our food. Complying with Global food standards, establishing effective regulatory food control systems including emergency preparedness and response, providing access to clean water, applying good agriculture practices (terrestrial, aquatic, livestock, horticulture), strengthening the use of food safety management systems by food business operators, and building capacities of consumers to make healthy food choices are some ways in which governments, international organizations, scientists, the private sector and civil society work to ensure food safety
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO is an intergovernmental organization present in over 130 countries. The Organization is comprised of 194 Member States, two associate members and one member organization – The European Union. The world headquarter of FAO is located in Rome.
FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries in transition, modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.
World health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organization, was an agency of the League of Nations.
Food Safety and Sustainable Development Goals
It is key to achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals and World Food Safety Day brings it into the spotlight, to help prevent, detect and manage food borne risks. Safe food contributes to economic prosperity, boosting agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
Goal 2 — There is no food security without food safety. Ending hunger is about all people having access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
Goal 3 — It has a direct impact on people’s health and nutritional intake. Food borne diseases are preventable.
Goal 12 — When countries strengthen their regulatory, scientific and technological capacities to ensure that food is safe and of the expected quality throughout the food chain, they move towards more sustainable patterns of food production and consumption.
Goal 17 — A globalized world with annual food exports currently in excess of USD 1.6 trillion and complex food systems demands international cooperation across sectors to ensure food is safe. Food safety is a shared responsibility among governments, food industries, producers and consumers.