⏰ 3 Min
After decades of steady decline, world hunger has slowly been on the rise since 2015. An estimated 821 million people in the world suffered from hunger in 2018. If nothing changes, the immense challenge of achieving the Zero Hunger Target by 2030 will not be achieved. At the same time, overweight and obesity continue to increase in all regions of the world, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019.
Why improving food safety is important?
Access to sufficient amounts of safe food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Foodborne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature and often invisible to the plain eye, caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.
Food safety has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, to preparation and consumption.
With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionally affecting vulnerable and marginalized people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict, and migrants. An estimated 420 000 people around the world die every year after eating contaminated food, and children under five years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.
World Food Safety Day on 7 June aims to draw attention to 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. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day in collaboration with the Member States and other relevant organizations. This international day is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe, mainstream food safety on the public agenda, and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.
Food safety is everyone’s business.
Under the slogan “Food safety, everyone’s business,” the action-oriented campaign promotes global food safety awareness and calls upon countries and decision-makers, the private sector, civil society, UN organizations, and the general public to take action.
The way in which food is produced, stored, handled, and consumed affects the safety of our food. Complying with Global food standards, establishing effective regulatory food control systems, including emergency preparedness and response, providing access to clean water, applying good agriculture practices (terrestrial, aquatic, livestock, horticulture), strengthening the use of food safety management systems by food business operators, and building capacities of consumers to make healthy food choices are some ways in which governments, international organizations, scientists, the private sector and civil society work to ensure food safety.
Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers. Everybody has a role to play, from farm to table, to ensure the food we consume is safe and will not damage our health. Through World Food Safety Day, WHO and FAO pursue efforts to mainstream food safety on the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.
Did you know?
- Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases.
- Recent estimates indicate that the impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies around US$ 95 billion in lost productivity each year.
- Good hygiene practices in the food and agricultural sectors help reduce the emergence and spread of foodborne diseases.
- World Food Safety Day campaign site
- FAO’s work on food safety
- WHO’s work on food safety
- Codex Alimentarius – International Food Standards
- WHO World Food Safety Day campaign webpage
- Trello board