The second annual World Food Safety Day is happening on Sunday June 7 and is an initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The theme this year is ‘Food Safety, Everyone’s Business’, intended to highlight the fact that everyone in the food chain from farmers to consumers have an important role to play in food safety.
Food-Borne Illness in Canada and Beyond
Health Canada estimates that 4 million people are affected by food-borne illness each year. This year alone, over 11,000 Canadians will require treatment from a hospital and over 200 will die due to food-borne illness.
Globally, the WHO estimates that 420,000 people die and 600 million people suffer from food-borne illness every year. More than 125,000 of the people who die are children aged five years old or younger. The WHO estimates that food-borne illness costs low and middle income economies alone around $95 billion in lost productivity each year.
Food Safety, Everyone’s Business
The theme of this World Food Safety Day demonstrates that everyone has the right to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. The responsibility of providing safe food is shared between governments, producers, businesses and consumers.
There five calls to action associated with World Food Safety Day are:
- Ensure it’s safe
- Grow it safe
- Keep it safe
- Eat it safe
- Team up for safety
1. Ensure it’s safe
Ensuring that consumers have access to safe and nutritious food is the responsibility of governments and food authorities around the world. By following the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the international standard for food safety) or other similar guidelines, governments can implement food policies to ensure the safety of food across the entire food supply chain.
2. Grow it safe
Farmers and food producers have a responsibility to ensure that the food they produce is safe for human consumption. This requires them to maintain a balance of good food safety practices alongside minimising climate change and environmental impacts of their practices.
3. Keep it safe
All businesses that work with food - from food producers through to retail outlets - need to play a part in ensuring that food is safe to eat. This is usually done through food safety programs based on HACCP principles. Businesses should focus on preventive controls i.e. stopping food safety problems before they happen.
4. Eat it safe
Consumers also have a part to play in ensuring food safety. In order to make the best decisions about the food that they and their families eat, it’s essential that consumers are provided with timely, clear and reliable information about the nutritional and disease risks associated with their food choices.
5. Team up for food safety
Everyone has a part to play in food safety and collaboration is essential. Governments, regional economic bodies, UN organizations, development agencies, trade organizations, consumer and producer groups, academic and research institutions and private sector entities all need to work together to ensure that consumers around the world have access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food.
About the Canadian Institute of Food Safety
At the Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS), our mission is to decrease food-borne illness in Canada by educating, advocating and promoting food safety.
We provide thousands of Canadian food workers, business owners and operators with the food safety training and resources they need to protect their customers and businesses from serious incidents like food poisoning and anaphylaxis.
To learn more, contact the Canadian Institute of Food Safety.