World Food Safety Day
7 June, 2021
As outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420,000 die every year (120,000 of these being children under five years of age). US$110 billion is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, the elderly and the sick. Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems, and harming national economies, tourism and trade. With food supply chains crossing multiple national borders, collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety. First observed in 2019, World Food Safety Day is thus to ensure that the food we consume is safe and will not cause ill-health, to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and to reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.