Food Safety is Everyone’s Business: World Food Safety Day 2019
June 7, 2019
What is Food Safety?
Food safety is the absence — or 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.
With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionally affecting vulnerable and marginalized people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict, and migrants. An estimated three million people around the world — in developed and developing countries — die every year from food and waterborne disease. Food is the starting point for our energy, our health, and our well-being. We often take for granted that it is safe, but in an increasingly complex and interconnected world where food value chains are growing longer, standards and regulations are that much more important in keeping us safe.
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.
Call to Action:
1. Ensure it’s safe
Governments must ensure safe and nutritious food for all
National governments are critical in guaranteeing that we all can eat safe and nutritious food. Policymakers can promote sustainable agriculture and food systems, fostering multi-sectoral collaboration among public health, animal health, agriculture, and other sectors. Food safety authorities can manage food safety risks along the entire food chain, including during emergencies. Countries can comply with international standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
2. Grow it safe
Agriculture and food producers need to adopt good practices
Farming practices must ensure a sufficient supply of safe food at a global level today while at the same time mitigating climate change and minimising environmental impacts for tomorrow. As food production systems transform to adapt to changing conditions, farmers must carefully consider optimal ways to address potential risks to ensure that food is safe.
3. Keep it safe
Business operators must make sure food is safe
Preventive controls can address most of the food safety problems. Everyone involved in food operations – from processing to retail – must ensure compliance with programmes like HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), a systems that identify, evaluates and controls hazards which are significant for food safety from primary production to final consumption. Additionally, good processing, storage, and preservation help retain nutritional value and food safety as well as reduce post-harvest losses.
4. Check it’s safe
All consumers have a right to safe, healthy and nutritious food
Consumers have the power to drive change. They need to be empowered to make healthy food choices for themselves and support sustainable food systems for the planet. Given the complexity of food safety, consumers need access to timely, clear and reliable information about the nutritional and disease risks associated with their food choices. Unsafe food and unhealthy dietary choices swell the global burden of disease.