On April 7, the UN celebrates World Health Day. This year’s theme is Food Safety; an excellent opportunity to recognize the important role we all play in ensuring the food safety of our food production, and to strengthen the collaboration and coordination between these areas in order to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne diseases.
A safe and nutritious food supply is essential for good health. Unsafe food can lead to a range of health problems, with new threats to food safety constantly emerging. Food that contains harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances is responsible for more than 200 diseases, both acute and chronic, ranging from diarrhea to cancers.
In 2013, there were over 310 000 reported cases of bacterial foodborne disease in the European Union/European Economic Area alone, of which 322 people died. This represents only the tip of the iceberg regarding the real burden of foodborne disease due to limited surveillance and reporting systems. The burden of foodborne disease in the eastern part of the European Region is likely to be even greater, while, at the same time, there are more challenges with regard to surveillance and reporting.
New threats to food safety are constantly emerging. Changes in food production, processing, distribution and consumption, changes to the environment, new and emerging bacteria and contaminants and antimicrobial resistance all pose challenges to national food safety systems. Increased travel and trade heighten the likelihood that contamination will spread internationally.
Risks to food safety can arise throughout the food chain, which is why many different sectors – health, agriculture, transport, environment, food service and the food industry – must collaborate to ensure that the food supply is secure, and the food on our plates is safe.
Consumers must also understand and follow basic hygiene advice, to ensure that they handle and prepare food safely.
World Health Day
World Health Day 2015 therefore provides an excellent opportunity to recognize the importance of food safety and the role of everyone involved in food production in order to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne diseases.
WHO work on #FoodSafety
The World Health Organization helps countries on food safety in line with the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice covering all the main foods and processes. Together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WHO alerts countries to food safety emergencies through an international information network.
WHO/Europe gives priority to building national capacity to manage food safety challenges through targeted training courses and projects.
Twitter chat: ask experts about food safety on World Health Day 2015!
A safe and nutritious food supply is essential for good health. Unsafe food can lead to a range of health problems, with new threats to food safety constantly emerging. In 2013, there were over 310 000 reported cases of bacterial foodborne disease in the European Union/European Economic Area alone, of which 322 people died.
On World Health Day, April 7, join the live Twitter chat to ask all your questions on food safety to our experts.
When: on 7 April for World Health Day
Time: from 14h-15h CEST/Paris time
How to send questions: Tweet your questions to @WHO_Europe or to @ECDC_EU or to @EFSA_EU using the hashtag #safefoodchat
- More information about #safefoodchat – is now online: http://bit.ly/safefoodchat
- More information on Food Safety and World Health Day?
- World Health Day 2015: http://www.euro.who.int/en/about-us/whd/world-health-day-2015
- WHO: Five keys to safer food (animated film): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZLRWg0cbMQ&feature=youtu.be