Home News Every year, 600 million people fall sick of foodborne illness, says UN ahead of World Food Safety Day

Every year, 600 million people fall sick of foodborne illness, says UN ahead of World Food Safety Day

by Dubai Forum
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GENEVA, 6th June, 2022 (WAM) — The United Nations will mark World Food Safety Day on June 7, 2022, under the theme “Safer food, better health.” Safe food is essential to human health and well-being, and is one of the most critical guarantors for good health. The day will draw attention and mobilise action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks and improve human health.

World Food Safety Day is observed ten days after the adoption of the updated WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety, a milestone in the work to promote health, keep the world safe and protect the vulnerable. The strategy is put forward in consultation with FAO, Member States and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies globally. Therefore, ensuring food safety is a public health priority and an essential step to achieving food security. Effective food safety and quality control systems are key not only to safeguarding the health and well-being of people, but also to fostering economic development and improving livelihoods by promoting access to domestic, regional and international markets.

As part of this year’s World Food Safety Day celebrations, the World Health Organization (WHO), together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), hosted a social media live Question-and-Answer (Q&A) event for the public on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. WHO Scientist, Simone Moraes Raszl, and Jeffrey LeJeune, FAO Food Safety Officer, discussed key facts about food safety and debunked some popular myths on Monday, 6th June, 2022. The event was moderated by WHO Communications officer Yanawit Dechpanyawat.

“Safe food is essential to human health and well-being. Globally, 1 in 10 people are affected by foodborne diseases annually. Foodborne diseases range from mild to very serious and can even lead to death. We need to engage everyone: governments, industry, civil society, also consumers to know more about this important issue,” noted Raszl on the importance of the World Food Safety Day.

The experts presented this year’s slogan “Safer food, better health”, where each person has a role to play – whether you grow, process, transport, store, sell, buy, prepare or serve food.

LeJeune, emphasised that food safety is everyone’s business: “Every day is a food safety day, we need to make sure that food is safe each day. We want to make sure that food does not cause any illness. It has health, and trade implications. Everyone involved at the various stages has a responsibility to keep food safe.”

The experts also discussed some of the major foodborne illnesses and causes, and impacts on health of both adults and children.

“We have over 200 diseases that can be caused by food, especially, it affects the most vulnerable groups like children, elderly, people with health conditions, people living in poverty,” said Raszl.

The experts also mentioned the newly adopted WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022-2030 as well as the upcoming FAO Priorities for Food Safety and the importance of food standards adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Food safety saves lives. It is not only a crucial component to food security, but it also plays a vital role in reducing foodborne disease. Every year, 600 million people fall sick as a result of around 200 different types of foodborne illness. The burden of such illness falls most heavily on the poor and on the young. In addition, foodborne illness is responsible for 420 000 preventable deaths every year.

World Food Safety Day is an important way of:
making people aware of food safety issues
demonstrating how to prevent illness through food safety
discussing collaborative approaches to improved food safety across sectors
promoting solutions and ways of being more food safe

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