Food Safety is This Year’s Focus
World Health Day is observed annually on the founding day of the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO was established in 1950 and is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, advocating for health research and policy, setting standards, and monitoring and assessing health trends. Each year on World Health Day, WHO selects a current world health issues to focus on, with local, regional and international events planned for this day related to the theme. The focus for World Health Day 2015 is food safety.
WHO selected this topic due to the increased globalization of the food supply. “As our food supply becomes increasingly globalized, the need to strengthen food safety systems in and between all countries is becoming more and more evident,” stated the organization. It lists the following facts about food safety.
- Contaminated food or drinking water is linked to the deaths of an estimated two million people yearly.
- More than 200 diseases are caused by unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or chemical substances.
- Unsafe food spawns a cycle of disease and malnutrition, and particularly impacts babies, young children, the elderly and the sick.
- Because food supply chains now cross many borders, cooperation between governments, producers and consumers is important to food safety.
5 Steps to Safer Food
WHO stresses that everyone in the food production chain – farmers, manufacturers, vendors and consumers – has a responsibility to ensure food safety. The Five Keys to Safer Food program teaches basic principles that people all over the world should know to prevent foodborne diseases.
- Keep clean. Hands and utensils frequently transport microorganisms from one place to another, so handwashing and good sanitation are very important.
- Separate raw and cooked food. Raw meat, poultry and seafood may contain dangerous microorganisms which can contaminate other foods.
- Cook food thoroughly. Thorough cooking to a temperature of 158°F will kill almost all dangerous microorganisms.
- Keep food at a safe temperature. When food is not kept hot or cold enough, dangerous microorganisms can grow very quickly.
- Use safe water and raw materials. Water, ice and raw foods such as fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with dangerous microorganisms and chemicals.
Spreading the message of health can be an excellent way to celebrate this holiday. For more about the topic of food safety, visit the WHO World Health Day webpage. If you find yourself suffering from symptoms of food-borne illness, visit your local RediClinic walk-in clinic for treatment with no appointment needed.