The countdown has begun to the fifth World Food Safety Day 2023, which will be celebrated worldwide on 7 June 2023.
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World Food Safety Day is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the importance of food safety and the measures that can be taken to prevent foodborne illnesses. The day is celebrated on 7 June every year and is recognized by the United Nations.
Food safety is a critical issue that affects everyone, regardless of where they live or what they eat. Unsafe food can cause various illnesses, from mild stomach upsets to more severe conditions such as kidney failure and cancer. It can also significantly impact the economy, with foodborne illnesses costing billions of dollars in medical expenses and lost productivity every year. As such, World Food Safety Day serves as an important reminder of the need to prioritize food safety and take action to ensure that the food we eat is safe and healthy.
Background of World Food Safety Day
Brief History of World Food Safety Day
World Food Safety Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018. The day is celebrated annually on 7 June to raise awareness about food safety’s importance and encourage action to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks. The first World Food Safety Day was celebrated on 7 June 2019.
The creation of World Food Safety Day was a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The day aims to raise awareness that foodborne illnesses are a significant global public health issue that can result in illness, disability, and even death.
Importance of World Food Safety Day
World Food Safety Day is an important event because it highlights the need for safe food. Unsafe food can cause various illnesses, from mild stomach upsets to severe diarrhoea and even death. According to the WHO, around 600 million people fall ill every year due to contaminated food, and as a result, 420,000 people die.
Food safety is also critical for economic development, trade, and tourism. Unsafe food can damage a country’s reputation and lead to trade restrictions, significantly impacting the economy. World Food Safety Day helps protect public health and support economic growth by promoting food safety.
Theme of the World Food Safety Day 2023
A glance at the World Food Safety Day web pages shows how Member Countries, Codex Observers, industry, academia, consumer groups, and other associations are joining together to raise awareness about the importance of safe food throughout the food chain.
The 2023 World Food Safety Day theme is “Food Standards Save Lives”, chosen by FAO, WHO, and Codex to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Food standards provide guidance on hygienic food handling for farmers and processors. They define the maximum levels of additives, contaminants, residues of pesticides, and veterinary drugs that all can safely consume. Standards also specify how food should be measured, packaged, and transported to keep it safe. Thanks to the application of standards on things like nutrition and allergen labelling, consumers can know whether the food will be good for them.
Activities on World Food Safety Day 2023
Codex will be central to the celebrations in FAO on 7 June, where – with the participation of the Directors General of FAO and WHO – four hybrid events will mark the day.
The event will open with remarks by QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
During the 75-minute event, FAO’s Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo, will moderate a short panel discussion with ministers for agriculture from Albania, Colombia, and Kenya to discuss how Codex Alimentarius standards are making a difference.
The high-level exchange will be followed by a conversation about how food standards promote health, moderated by Francesco Branca, Director of the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.
Corinna Hawkes, FAO’s Director of the Food Systems and Food Safety Division, will moderate a second panel discussion with experts from various sectors. They will discuss the role of science in standard setting and food systems transformation and answer questions from the audience.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and partner organizations will be holding four virtual events discussing different aspects of food safety and promoting new resources.
- “Assessing Food Safety and Plant Health in 11 Countries in Africa: a Panel Discussion,” held at 11:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. CEST (5:00–6:00 A.M. ET) and hosted by FAO and the EU International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat, will cover the aims and benefits of a new project to assess food safety and plant health in African countries
- A “World Food Safety Day High-Level Event,” held at 12:15–1:30 P.M. CEST (6:15–7:30 A.M. ET) and hosted by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO), will be a celebration of and learning opportunity about how food safety standards contribute to saving lives
- A “First Peek Inside a New Food Safety Toolbox,” held at held at 3:00–4:00 P.M. CEST (9:00–10:00 A.M. ET) and hosted by FAO, will provide stakeholders a glance at new food safety resources on Good Hygiene Practices (GHPs) and Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
- An opportunity to “Ask Us Anything About Food Safety,” held at 4:30–5:30 P.M. CEST (10:30–11:30 A.M. ET) and hosted by FAO and the World Food Program, will allow stakeholders to meet five technical experts who advise governments and ensure safe food along the supply chain in humanitarian operations.
Role of India in Food Safety
India’s initiative towards World Food Safety Day involves:
State Food Safety Index
The State Food Safety Index (SFSI) was created by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) to evaluate how well each State performs in relation to five different parameters of food safety. These parameters include Human Resources and Institutional Arrangements, Compliance, Food Testing-Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training, and capacity building, and consumer Empowerment
Eat Right Movement
Eat Right Movement is an initiative of the Government of India and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to transform the country’s food system to ensure safe, healthy, and sustainable food for all Indians. Eat Right India is aligned with the National Health Policy 2017, focusing on preventive and promotive healthcare and flagship programs like Ayushman Bharat, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anemia Mukt Bharat, and Swachh Bharat Mission.
Eat Right Mela
It is a community outreach initiative by the FSSAI to encourage citizens to eat right. Its goal is to make citizens aware of the health and nutrition benefits of different types of food.
In conclusion, World Food Safety Day is an important event that raises awareness about the importance of safe food. Promoting food safety can protect public health, support economic growth, and ensure everyone can access safe, nutritious food.