World Food Safety Day Debuts on June 7
The first ever World Food Safety Day (WFSD) will be celebrated on June 7, 2019, in an effort to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, as well as contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development. Get a better understanding of this momentous occasion with a helpful breakdown of when, how and why this day was established, and what you can do to participate.
What Is World Food Safety Day?
In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming World Food Safety Day to celebrate the myriad of benefits of safe food. The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), will facilitate Member States’ efforts to commemorate World Food Safety Day on June 7 of this year and in years to come.
“World Food Safety Day will be a chance for everyone to take a moment to think about something we often take for granted: food safety,” said Tom Heilandt, Secretary of the Codex Alimentarius, the international system of food standards, guidelines and codes of practice. “Thanks to the widespread efforts of Codex Members and Observers, the international community will speak with one voice on June 7 to promote awareness and inspire actions for safer food.”
“Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health,” explains a recent WHO news release. “Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems and harming national economies, tourism and trade. With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne diseases annually, … food safety is an increasing threat to human health. Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden with 125,000 deaths every year.”
“Food safety is key to achieving several UN Sustainable Development Goals and is a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers. Everybody has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and will not cause damages to our health. Through the World Food Safety Day, WHO pursues its efforts to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.”
What’s the Takeaway from This Year’s Theme?
The inaugural World Food Safety Day will be celebrated under the theme “Food safety, everyone's business.” Almost one in ten people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food. When food is not safe, children cannot learn, adults cannot work and human development cannot take place. This year, all stakeholders are invited to raise global awareness about food safety in general and to highlight that everyone involved in food systems has a part to play.
Safe food is critical to promoting health and ending hunger. There is no food security without food safety and in a world where the food supply chain has become more complex, any adverse food safety incident may have global negative effects on public health, trade and the economy.
Yet food safety is taken for granted. It is often invisible until you get food poisoning. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhea to cancer.
Everyone has the right to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. This international day is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe. Whether you produce, process, sell or prepare food, you have a role in keeping it safe. Everybody along the food chain is responsible for food safety.
What Can You Do to Be Part of the Solution?
This action-oriented campaign will promote global food safety awareness and call upon countries and decision makers, the private sector, civil society, UN organizations and the general public to take action. All players in the farm-to-fork continuum are invited to get involved:
- FAO and WHO
- Codex Member Countries and their partners
- Everyone who grows, processes, transports, stores, sells and consumes food
- Goodwill ambassadors
- Social media influencers
- The general public, especially youth
Here’s how individual sectors can participate:
Ensure It’s Safe: Governments must ensure safe and nutritious food for all.
National governments are critical in guaranteeing that we all can eat safe and nutritious food. Policy makers can promote sustainable agriculture and food systems, fostering multi-sectoral collaboration among public health, animal health, agriculture and other sectors. Food safety authorities can manage food safety risks along the entire food chain, including during emergencies. Countries can comply with international standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Grow It Safe: Agriculture and food producers need to adopt good practices.
Farming practices must ensure a sufficient supply of safe food at a global level today while at the same time mitigating climate change and minimizing environmental impacts for tomorrow. As food production systems transform to adapt to changing conditions, farmers must carefully consider optimal ways to address potential risks to ensure that food is safe.
Keep It Safe: Business operators must make sure food is safe.
Preventive controls can address most of food safety problems. Everyone involved in food operations – from processing to retail – must ensure compliance with programs like HACCP, a system that identifies, evaluates and controls hazards, which are significant for food safety from primary production to final consumption. Additionally, good processing, storage and preservation help retain nutritional value and food safety as well as reduce post-harvest losses.
Check It’s Safe: All consumers have a right to safe, healthy and nutritious food.
Consumers have the power to drive change. They need to be empowered to make healthy food choices for themselves and support sustainable food systems for the planet. Given the complexity of food safety, consumers need access to timely, clear and reliable information about the nutritional and disease risks associated with their food choices. Unsafe food and unhealthy dietary choices swell the global burden of disease.
Team Up for Safety: Food safety is a shared responsibility.
The diverse groups that share responsibility for food safety – governments, regional economic bodies, UN organizations, development agencies, trade organizations, consumer and producer groups, academic and research institutions and private sector entities – must work together on issues that affect us all, globally, regionally and locally. Collaboration is needed at many levels – across sectors within a government and across borders when combating outbreaks of foodborne illness globally.
For more information about World Food Safety Day and what other actions you can take to participate in the movement, check out the 2019 guide.
Advanced Food Safety in Action
As one of the country’s largest Honeycrisp apple growers and a supplier to retailers around the world, Borton Fruit understands the importance of prioritizing food safety and quality. Jeremy Leavitt, the company’s Food Safety and Compliance Director, saw an opportunity to increase structure, automation and intelligence in their environmental monitoring program and develop an effective food safety system.
To help the team restructure their existing program, create automated reports that track spending and food testing, and streamline their maintenance process, Borton Fruit adopted Corvium’s food safety platform, which enabled them to get more insights and data to help make educated decisions on testing.
The software allows employees to know how they must handle a positive test by defining a very clear and precise remediation process. With all tests results and remediations in one place, they are better prepared for unexpected administrative and third-party audits. Borton is also able to look at how much money they're investing in their sanitation programs. They were able to increase their ROI by using better tools, expediting tasks and increasing their focus on areas of high pathogen results.
Since implementing a structured and automated food safety program with clearly defined steps, Borton Fruits is now using less chemicals and labor, maintaining improved quality, ensuring longer shelf life and minimizing rot. “By knowing more about what is going on with our product, we can better tackle the problem,” says Leavitt. “Having complete control of our Sanitation and Pathogen testing programs gives us more confidence in the entire process and our product.”
Hear more about Borton Fruit’s journey to achieve a fully digitized food safety program by attending the Corvium Customer Connector Event on June 25, a rare opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer learning and discussion. Reserve your spot now.
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About David Hatch
Dave Hatch has spent over 30 years solving data management, information security and analytics challenges across multiple industries, including food/beverage, healthcare, publishing, manufacturing and financial services. As Chief Strategy Officer at Corvium, Dave focuses on the emerging digital transformation occurring in the food industry, and its impact on the advancement of food safety programs across the food supply chain.
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