World Food Safety Day is observed each year on June 7 to mark the importance of healthy food practices and reflect on the global food system and those affected by it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this day is marked to “draw attention and mobilize action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks and improve human health.”
This year, the theme for World Food Safety Day is “Safer food, better health.” The day emphasizes the importance of making food safety a priority for all to stay healthier and be more productive, which will in turn help reduce the pressure on health care systems. Here’s everything you need to know about World Food Safety Day 2022.
History and Significance of World Food Safety Day
World Food Safety Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to raise awareness of vital food safety issues around the world. The WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly kickstarted the day in collaboration with the member states and other stakeholders.
The goal of World Food Safety Day is to transform food systems to deliver better, sustainable health and prevent foodborne diseases. This day also provides an opportunity to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe and reduce the burden of foodborne illnesses, which are usually infectious or toxic and often invisible to the plain eye. They are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.
With an estimated 600 millioncases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to health and economies, disproportionately impacting vulnerable and marginalized people, particularly women and children, populations affected by conflict and immigrants. An estimated 420,000 people in the world die every year after eating contaminated food, with children under five years old carrying 40 percent of the foodborne disease burden.
World Food Safety Day was created to inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, agriculture, human health, economic prosperity, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
How to Get Involved
Food safety is a global issue that has become more complex in recent years due to globalization, the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the increase in food fraud. All of these challenges make it difficult to ensure that all foods are safe to eat. However, concerted efforts by governments, industry and individual consumers can help.
By making safe and healthy dietary choices, consumers can help reduce the global burden of disease and support sustainable food systems. On a larger scale, universities, schools and workplaces should include food safety education in wellness policies, such as including food safety education training as part of professional development.
Food halls and cafeterias should ensure that all food safety regulations are followed by applying Hazard Analysis and Critical Points (HACCP) processes laid out by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and all relevant standard operating procedures. Adequate training should also be provided to anyone handling food.
On an individual level, families and children can get involved in food safety activities, allowing them to learn and inform others that by changing simple day-to-day actions, they can reduce the risk of foodborne disease. The WHO’s Five Keys to Safer Food is a helpful tool to use to develop posters, brochures or educational videos.
World Food Safety Day is a day to focus on the global food safety crisis and the need for improved food safety practices. To help address these issues, governments, industries and individuals must work together to develop innovative solutions and bring about real change.