Today is World Health Day and WHO has dedicated it to the issue of food safety due to new data on the harm caused by foodborne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain.
World Health Day celebrated today every year, has been tagged "Food Safety" by WHO, this highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.”
“Food production has been industrialized and its trade and distribution have been globalized,” says WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “These changes introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.”
Dr Chan adds: “A local food safety problem can rapidly become an international emergency. Investigation of an outbreak of foodborne disease is vastly more complicated when a single plate or package of food contains ingredients from multiple countries.”
According to WHO, unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases - ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.
Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.
Today, WHO is issuing the first findings from what is a broader ongoing analysis of the global burden of foodborne diseases.
The full results of this research, being undertaken by WHO’s Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), are expected to be released in October 2015.