Tuesday, April 7th 2015. BMG: At least 2 million people around the world including children and adults die every year due to unsafe food. Food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical substances are responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhea to cancers that cause these deaths.
Changes in food production, distribution and consumption, changes to the environment, new and emerging pathogens, and antimicrobial resistance all pose challenges to national food safety systems. An increase in travel and trade also enhances the likelihood that contamination can spread internationally.
As our food supply becomes increasingly globalized, the need to strengthen food safety systems in and between all countries is becoming more and more vital which is why the WHO is promoting efforts to improve food safety, from farm to plate and everywhere in between on World Health Day, 7 April 2015.
The World Health Organization helps countries prevent, detect and respond to foodborne disease outbreaks with a collection of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice covering all the main foods and processes. Together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WHO alerts countries to food safety emergencies through an international information network.
Food safety is a shared responsibility. It is important to work all along the food production chain – from farmers and manufacturers to vendors and consumers. For example, WHO’s five keys to safer food offer practical guidance to vendors and consumers for handling and preparing food:
World Health Day 2015 is an opportunity to acquaint people working in different government sectors, farmers, manufacturers, retailers, health practitioners – as well as consumers – about the importance of food safety, and the role each can play in ensuring that everyone can feel comfortable that the food on their plate is safe to eat.
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