June 7- World Food Safety Day

3 Min ⏰ 

Even though today’s global food production is enough to feed everyone, hunger continues to increase in some parts of the world. Despite some recent progress in reducing hunger in Asia and Latin America, the world is still facing food crises in many regions, especially in Africa, where the situation is dire.

Some Facts

  • 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 to reduce the emergence and spread of foodborne diseases.

Improving Food Safety Importance

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 naked eye, caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.

Food safety has a critical role in ensuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, and preparation and consumption.

With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionately 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 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125,000 deaths every year.

World Food Safety Day on June 7 aims 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. 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 Member States and other relevant organizations. This international day is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to 

ensure that our food is safe, mainstream food safety is on the public agenda, and the burden of foodborne diseases is reduced globally.

Food Safety as 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.

How 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 agricultural practices (terrestrial, aquatic, livestock, horticulture), strengthening the use of food safety management systems by food business operators, and building the 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 in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.