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World Food Safety Day

World Food Safety Day is commemorated every year on the 7th of June by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to trace, prevent and manage risks which are foodborne and to improve the overall human health. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that, on a global level, one in ten people are affected by diseases which are foodborne, annually. 

The theme of this year’s World Food Safety Day is “Safer Food, Better Health.” Indeed, the key to sustaining a healthy life is access to optimum amounts of food that is safe and healthy. Foodborne illnesses are mostly life-threatening or infectious in nature and are most often than not invisible to the human eye. These diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, chemical substances and parasites which enter the body through contaminated and infected food or water.

Food Safety Day raises a keen awareness of issues related to food safety. UN has remarked that “Food safety has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.” Poor quality of food quality leads to deterioration of health conditions and causes impaired growth and development, micronutrient deficiencies, communicable or non-communicable diseases and serious mental illnesses. 

Every year, there are almost 600 million cases of foodborne diseases. Unsafe food is a severe threat to human health and it also impacts economies. Unsafe food disproportionally affects the vulnerable and marginalised people, especially women and children, populations who are affected by a conflict, and migrants who have to rely on whatever food that comes their way. Approximately, 4,20,000 people around the globe die every year after eating food that has been contaminated and  an estimate also shows that children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with around 1,25,000 deaths every year. 

India marked World Food Safety Day in a very special way. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister launched the logo for ‘Ayurveda Aahar’ on World Food Safety Day. He said that this initiative “will help in creating a unique identity of ‘Ayurveda Aahar’ for easy identification and its proven benefits to improve health & wellbeing.” Honourable Vice President of India said in a tweet, “On World Food Safety Day, I call upon all stakeholders to take collective action to prevent foodborne illnesses, spread awareness on the risks attached with contaminated food and improve human health.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Member States and other relevant organisations jointly facilitate the observing of World Food Safety Day. This international day is a huge opportunity to boost and increase efforts to ensure that the food every individual eats, is safe and the burden of foodborne diseases is reduced globally.