The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that the first-ever World Food Safety Day holding today, June 7, is aimed at strengthening efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe.
In a statement published on its website on Thursday, WHO said that food safety contributes to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development, and therefore should be everyone’s business.
The world body noted that, “Every year, nearly one in ten people in the world (an estimated 600 million people) fall ill and 420,000 die after eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances.
“Unsafe food also hinders development in many low- and middle-income economies, which lose around US$ 95 billion in productivity associated with illness, disability, and premature death suffered by workers.”
According to the statement, the United Nations designated two of its agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) – to lead efforts in promoting food safety around the world.
FAO and WHO are joining forces to assist countries to prevent, manage and respond to risks along the food supply chain, working with food producers and vendors, regulatory authorities and civil society stakeholders, whether the food is domestically produced or imported.
“Whether you are a farmer, farm supplier, food processor, transporter, marketer or consumer, food safety is your business,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. “There is no food security without food safety.”
“Unsafe food kills an estimated 420,000 people every year. These deaths are entirely preventable,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “World Food Safety Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe food with governments, producers, handlers and consumers. From farm to plate, we all have a role to play in making food safe.”