World Food Safety Day (WFSD) celebrated on 7 June 2021 aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
At Hygiene Food Safety our focus is on creating awareness on hygiene and food safety through education. Without knowledge, there can be no understanding of food safety. Our call to action has been to spread the word about food safety. #worldfoodsafetyday
Food Safety can be defined as handling, preparing and storing food or drink in a way that best reduces the risk of consumers becoming sick from the food-borne disease. The principles of food safety aim to prevent food from becoming contaminated and causing food poisoning. With this in mind, ensuring that food is safe for human consumption is likely the most critical part of the food preparation process. This ranges from what is called farm to fork, meaning from the farms all the way to your plate. Check out our article on the food production chain and the possible ways contamination can happen.
This year’s theme, ‘Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow’, stresses that production and consumption of safe food has immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet and the economy. Recognizing the systemic connections between the health of people, animals, plants, the environment and the economy will help us meet the needs of the future.
Recognizing the global burden of foodborne diseases, which affect individuals of all ages, in particular children under-5 and persons living in low-income countries, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed in 2018 that every 7 June would be World Food Safety Day. In 2020, the World Health Assembly further passed a resolution to strengthen global efforts for food safety to reduce the burden of foodborne disease. WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other relevant organizations.
Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers. Everyone has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and healthy. Through the World Food Safety Day, WHO works to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally. Food safety is everyone’s business.
World Food Safety Day Facts
- An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs).
- US$110 billion is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.
- Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.
- Diarrhoeal diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, causing 550 million people to fall ill and 230 000 deaths every year.
- Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli are among the most common foodborne pathogens that affect millions of people annually – sometimes with severe and fatal outcomes. Symptoms are fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Examples of foods involved in outbreaks of salmonellosis are eggs, poultry and other products of animal origin. Foodborne cases with Campylobacter are mainly caused by raw milk, raw or undercooked poultry and drinking water. Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli is associated with unpasteurized milk, undercooked meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Listeria infection leads to miscarriage in pregnant women or death of newborn babies. Although disease occurrence is relatively low, listeria’s severe and sometimes fatal health consequences, particularly among infants, children and the elderly, count them among the most serious foodborne infections. Listeria is found in unpasteurised dairy products and various ready-to-eat foods and can grow at refrigeration temperatures.
- Vibrio cholerae infects people through contaminated water or food. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and profuse watery diarrhoea, which may lead to severe dehydration and possibly death. Rice, vegetables, millet gruel and various types of seafood have been implicated in cholera outbreaks.
Norovirus infections are characterized by nausea, explosive vomiting, watery diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Hepatitis A virus can cause long-lasting liver disease and spreads typically through raw or undercooked seafood or contaminated raw produce. Infected food handlers are often the source of food contamination.
The burden of foodborne diseases
The burden of foodborne diseases to public health and welfare and to economies has often been underestimated due to underreporting and difficulty to establish causal relationships between food contamination and resulting illness or death.
The 2015 WHO report on the estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases presented the first-ever estimates of disease burden caused by 31 foodborne agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals) at global and regional level.
The 2018 World Bank report on the economic burden of the foodborne diseases indicated that the total productivity loss associated with foodborne disease in low- and middle-income countries was estimated to cost US$ 95.2 billion per year, and the annual cost of treating foodborne illnesses is estimated at US$ 15 billion.
In Celebration of World Food Safety Day
We are offering our course on our training website for free. We believe that such a great occasion should be celebrated with providing education on food safety. In staying with this year’s theme: Food Safety, Everyone’s Business. We are giving away our course “Food Safety for the Kitchen” for free. Enjoy!