World Food Safety Day is observed annually on June 7 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about foodborne hazards and to aid in the prevention, diagnosis, and control of adverse sickness, contributing to long-term human development through decent food security. Following the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, which is said to have started spreading among humans two years ago from a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, China, global food safety watchdogs are emphasizing the dangers of risky eating behaviors this year, on June 7, 2021.
From 2016 forward, the necessity for an international food safety day was addressed at many sessions of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The assembly passed a resolution on December 20, 2018, designating June 7 as a day to “highlight the various benefits of safe food.”
WHO seeks to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and minimize the global burden of foodborne illness through World Food Safety Day. According to the public health agency, “food safety is everyone’s business.”
On August 3, 2020, the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a resolution designating June 7 as World Food Safety Day to raise awareness about the importance of food safety at all levels, as well as to promote and facilitate actions to prevent foodborne diseases at local, national, regional, and global levels; and to strengthen global efforts for food safety to reduce the burden of famine.
This year’s World Food Safety Day theme is “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow.” WHO hopes to emphasize that safe food production and consumption offer immediate and long-term advantages for people, the environment, and the economy. “Recognizing the systemic connections between the health of people, animals, plants, the environment, and the economy will help us meet the needs of the future,” WHO stated.
Food safety is critical in ensuring that food remains safe at every stage of the food chain, from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, and all the way to preparation and consumption, because foodborne diseases are usually invisible to the naked eye and infectious or toxic in nature. Contamination by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances is a major concern.
On World Food Safety Day, it’s important to note that, while there’s no proof that Covid-19 is spread through food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that basic food safety etiquette be followed in general. This involves washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing or consuming food and keeping a close eye on the danger of food contamination during storage or packing.
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