Every year, April 7th is designated as the World Health Day. The chosen topic for 2015 is food safety. It is estimated that about two million deaths occur every year from contaminated food or drinking water. Our food supply has increased due to globalization, which means that food safety systems have to be strengthened more than ever to maintain the standards. This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) is promoting efforts to improve food safety, from farm to plate on World Health Day.
The WHO shares 10 facts you may not know about food safety:
- More than 200 diseases are spread through food.
- Contaminated food can cause long-term health problems, including cancer and neurological disorders.
- Foodborne diseases have much higher impact on populations with poor health status, including infants, pregnant women, the elderly and the sick.
- There are many opportunities for food contamination to take place in the long food supply chain.
- Globalization makes food safety more complex and essential.
- Food safety is multisectoral and multidisciplinary.
- Food contamination also affects the economy and society as a whole.
- Some harmful bacteria are becoming resistant to drug treatments.
- Everybody has a role to play in keeping food safe – it is a shared responsibility between governments, industry, producers, academic, and consumers.
- Consumers must be well informed on food safety practices.
Food safety is especially important for cancer patients who have weakened immune systems which can make them more susceptible to infections. Although the food supply in the United States is among the safest in the world, it can still be a source of infection for anyone – especially if the basic principles of food safety are not followed. It is important for everyone to know and practice safe food-handling in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Here are the WHO’s Five Keys to Safer Food:
If you would like to learn more about World Health Day, visit the World Health Organization’s website.
We also have written several blog posts in the past on food safety for cancer patients, which you can find here.