International Focus on Food Safety

26 Jun
global food safety

Food Safety

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), foodborne diseases affect 1 in 10 people worldwide each year. Safe food is a key contributor to reducing these foodborne illnesses and other poor health conditions, including impaired development, micronutrient deficiencies, noncommunicable and communicable diseases, and mental illnesses. Only when food is safe can we fully benefit from its nutritional value.

FAO Strategic Priorities for Food Safety

In March 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published its Strategic Priorities for Food Safety 2022-2031 to “support members in continuing to improve food safety at all levels by providing scientific advice and strengthening their food safety capacities for efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems.”  

The Strategic Priorities document is structured around four strategic outcomes:

  • Governance (intergovernmental and intersectoral) is coordinated and reinforced at all levels.
  • Scientific advice and evidence provide the foundation for decisions made about food safety.
  • National food control systems are continually strengthened and improved by supporting members in:
    • Evaluating food control systems, identifying needs, and designing programs.
    • Developing and transitioning economy countries to participate in Codex Alimentarius work.
    • Developing and updating food safety standards, legal frameworks, government policies, and operational procedures and guidelines.
    • Generating relevant food safety data to reflect the national situation.
    • Implementing technology developments in food control and food safety management.
  • Public-private partnerships along the food chain are being fostered to ensure food safety management and controls.

World Food Safety Day

On June 7, countries around the globe celebrated World Food Safety Day, focusing this year on “Food Standards Save Lives” as the theme. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, World Food Safety Day is an annual observation intended to mobilize action to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks and improve human health. The WHO and the FAO jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day.

This year’s theme coincides with the 60th anniversary of Codex Alimentarius, a collection of food standards, guidelines, and codes of practice that encourage governments and food safety advocates around the world to focus on the importance of applying safety standards.

Along with WHO and FAO, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling on everyone to join in the efforts to ensure safe food for all. Check out FDA’s information on ways to reduce foodborne illnesses and the Guide to World Food Safety Day 2023 for ideas on how you can participate in World Food Safety Day every day.

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