World Food Safety Day: The first ever World Food Safety Day (WFSD) celebrated on 7 June 2019 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. Everyone has the right to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. Still today, almost one in ten people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food. When food is not safe, children cannot learn, adults cannot work. Human development cannot take place.
Yet food safety is taken for granted. It is often invisible until you get food poisoning. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancer. This international day is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe. Whether you produce, process, sell or prepare food, then you have a role in keeping it safe. Everybody along the food chain is responsible for food safety.
For this inaugural WFSD all stakeholders are invited to raise global awareness about food safety in general and to highlight that everyone involved in food systems has a part to play. This year WFSD reinforces the call to strengthen commitment to scale up food safety made by the Addis Ababa Conference and the Geneva Forum under the umbrella of “The Future of Food Safety” in 2019.
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To combat ongoing changes in climate, global food production and supply systems that affect consumers, industry and the planet itself, everyone needs to consider food safety now and tomorrow.
The UN recognizes food safety
On 20 December 2018 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 73/250 proclaiming a World Food Safety Day. Starting in 2019, every 7 June will be a time to celebrate the myriad benefits of safe food.
Facts and figures:
- An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year.
- Children under 5 years of age carry 40 percent of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.
- Foodborne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature and caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical
substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.
- Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems, and harming national economies, tourism and trade.
- The value of trade in food is US$ 1.6 trillion, which is approximately 10 percent of total annual trade globally.
- Recent estimates indicate that the impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies around US$ 95 billion in lost productivity each year.
- Safe food is critical, not only to better health and food security, but also for livelihoods, economic development, trade and the international reputation of every country.
- Climate change is associated with altered geographic occurrence and prevalence of food safety hazards.
- Each year, an estimated 700 000 people die around the globe because of antimicrobialresistant infections.
- Improving hygiene practices in the food and agricultural sectors helps to reduce the emergence and spread of
antimicrobial resistance along the food chain and in the environment.
- Better data is needed to understand the farreaching impacts of unsafe food.
- Investment in consumer food safety education has the potential to reduce foodborne disease and return savings of up to ten-fold for each dollar invested.