Everyone knows that food safety is important. So important, in fact, that the United Nations created an actual “World Food Safety Day”, to draw attention and raise awareness for the consequences of contaminated food and water.
Food safety is an action taken to create and uphold safe and acceptable levels of food for consumers. Precautions are written and actions are taken place constantly to eliminate hazards in food that can possibly cause severe sickness or even death to consumers. These food hazards can be microbiological, chemical, or physical in nature, and are most of the time invisible to the human eye. Some examples include pesticide residues, bacteria, and a multitude of viruses.
Food safety plays a very important role in making sure that food stays safe through every stage of the supply chain, from farming to harvest, and through processing distributions, storage, and into the kitchen of the consumer.
There are as many as 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses every single year, and food illness can be a very serious threat to humans as well as entire economies. It can sadly affect many vulnerable and marginalized people, specifically women in children living in countries that are affected by conflict and migrants.
In developing countries, statistics show that up to 3 million people die every year from food and waterborne diseases. Food is so important to our well-being and health, and it’s critical that we never take food safety for granted.
With today’s world becoming more complex and logistics chains developing and becoming longer and more complicated, more standards and regulations need to be in place to ensure that the food that is traveling through it is kept and handled safely.
Food Safety is Everyone’s Business
The theme is currently “Food safety, everyone’s” business. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has created a campaign that is action-oriented and will promote global food safety awareness, and work alongside whole countries, governments, private sector, UN organizations, and the public, encouraging them to take action.
It’s important to know and be aware of how our food is produced, handled, stored, and eventually consumed, as every part of this process affects the safety of it. Complying with Global Food Standards, establishing regulatory quality food control systems that have emergency preparedness and available response is critical.
Food safety is not just the responsibility of the government and agricultural industries, but ours as well. Everyone has a role to play, from farm to table to help ensure quality food distribution and keep the industry accountable.
With that, World Food Safety day was created, and WHO creates efforts to help mainstream and ensure food safety to the public, aiming to reduce food burden diseases on a global scale.
Food Safety and Sustainable Development Goals
Although acknowledgment and awareness are a great stepping stone to helping resolve these issues, having set goals is just as important. Applying Food Safety actually helps achieve a few of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Safe food not only helps reduce illness, but can create economic prosperity, boost agriculture, tourism, and sustainable development.
Here are a few goals outlined below:
- 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 — Food safety has a direct impact on people’s health and nutritional intake. Foodborne 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.
World Food Safety day is on June 7th, 2021 of this year, and we at PostHarvest Learning are here to educate and raise awareness on how we can all make a difference, so please go ahead and read more articles here, or go through some free online courses here.