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FAO and WHO regions celebrate World Food Safety Day



FAO and WHO regions celebrate World Food Safety Day

To mark World Food Safety Day, a series of events, speeches and webinars took place over the past week. Below, Food Safety News summarizes the best bits to mark the occasion.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that an average of 1.6 million people become ill every day as a result of consuming unsafe food.

The theme for World Food Safety Day on June 7 was ‘Prepare for the unexpected’. It also coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the FAO and WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN).

“The dangers to food safety know no bounds. In our interconnected global food supply, the risks of unsafe food can quickly escalate from local problems to international emergencies,” said Francesco Branca, Director of the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.

“The theme emphasizes the importance of preparedness in managing food safety incidents to prevent them from becoming an emergency. It emphasizes the need for careful planning, preparation and rapid action in emergency situations. Humanitarian crises in many parts of the world, such as the Gaza Strip, Ukraine and Sudan, are leading to food insecurity and endangering food security. Our global food system is only as strong as its weakest link.”

Regional perspective

The Southeast Asia region has the second highest health burden due to the consumption of contaminated food, with an estimated 150 million illnesses and 175,000 deaths per year.

Saima Wazed, WHO regional director for Southeast Asia, said everyone is a risk manager.

“We all evaluate food safety risks as part of our daily choices. These choices are made by individuals and collectively by families, communities, businesses and governments. Let us commit to doing our part to raise awareness and take action towards preventing, detecting and controlling foodborne risks,” she said.

“Food safety incidents can range from minor events to major international crises, whether it is a power outage at home, food poisoning at a local restaurant, a voluntary recall of contaminated products by a manufacturer, an outbreak of imported products or a natural disaster. .”

According to 2015 WHO estimates, 100 million people in the Eastern Mediterranean are affected by foodborne diseases every year, and 32 million cases are children under 5 years of age.

Foodborne diarrheal diseases caused by pathogens account for 70 percent of the disease burden, and approximately 37,000 people die annually in the region from eating unsafe food.

Public health challenges arise from climate change-related events such as heat waves, droughts and floods. Humanitarian crises, other emergencies and political instability also have an impact.

Workshop in Kyrgyzstan

To raise awareness about good food safety and management, a workshop was held in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, on World Food Safety Day.

Speakers presented the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system and discussed risk identification and monitoring.

“The good news is that we can prevent food poisoning by taking safety measures. However, since many people are involved in obtaining food, it is not always easy to keep it safe,” said Almaz Kadyraliev of the Kyrgyz Economic University.

The event was organized as part of a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF).

“Every meal, every snack, every time dishes are prepared, when food is grown, produced and transported – these are all moments when food safety must be prioritized. If more people know about food safety, we can take better measures to keep our food safe,” said Bermet Jurupova, an FAO food safety expert.

Food safety at events

Renata Clarke, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean at FAO, and Dr. Lisa Indar, director at CARPHA, focused on the potential “disastrous” reputational impact if there were regular reports of foodborne illness in the region, which is currently hosting a cricket match. World Cup.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) helped conduct food safety training for nearly 900 vendors from the six Caribbean host countries who will sell food in and around cricket stadiums and nearly 400 people from the hospitality sector.

“Many Caribbean countries have shown vigilance and proactivity in identifying potential food safety breaches in light of the upcoming large crowds drawn to the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup events. With the expectation of a sharply increased number of street food vendors and customers, ministries of health and food safety authorities have emphasized on updating food safety training for vendors and food safety awareness for consumers,” said Clarke and Indar.

“Governments are continually reviewing and updating food standards to ensure an acceptable level of public health protection in light of new and emerging information. They also regularly update processes and regulations to ensure the food industry meets expected standards. Several Caribbean countries have undergone rigorous reviews of their food safety and quality control systems over the past two years in the spirit of continuous improvement. Food safety is too important to allow complacency.”

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