International Days

World Food Safety Day

On June 7th we celebrate the World Food Safety Day, during which the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations encourage to raise awareness about the key role of prevention and management of contaminated food in order to enhance health, economic prosperity and sustainable development. As the slogan of this day says, Food safety is everyone’s business: in fact, the initiatives are addressed to governments, companies and individuals, since we need to act through all the food chain, from the producer to the consumer.

Bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical substances like heavy metals contaminate food, being the cause of overo 200 diseases. Unsafe food is a global challenge, as it makes one in ten people worldwide fall ill, subsequently affecting all countries. However, it’s a threat especially for vulnerable and marginalized people, like the ones dealing with conflicts or migration.

This year the theme concerns “Food Safety: prepare for the unexpected”: even when everyone plays their part, unexpected events are likely to happen, and we need to be prepared to react and contain the damages as much as possible. It’s a collective responsibility: due to the current globalized food chain, even a local compromission can spread and become an international problem.

So, what can we do?  As consumers, individuals should be aware about how to react to a food safety incident in order to facilitate immediate action; companies could enforce the way food safety plans are manages and improve the communication with consumers; governments could improve national food control systems, strengthen surveillance and communication with companies and people.

A coordinated approach and exchange of information between governments, food businesses, health organizations are needed.