During National Public Health Week which started yesterday, we celebrate World Health Day today which was first championed by the World Health Organization over 60 years ago. In efforts to draw attention on a worldwide basis to a subject of major importance to global health, the WHO chooses different topics each year that effect everyone’s life. This year the focus is on food safety, which has been made a very serious issue as the effects of globalization have changed the way we receive food, how it is made, and where we get it from. Changes in food production, distribution, and consumption are considered new threats to food safety and more are still emerging as globalization expands. Other threats include changes in the environment, new pathogens, and antimicrobial resistance. National food safety systems are challenged as travel and trade are increasing, which increases the likelihood of contamination that can potentially spread internationally.
According to APHA, each year 2 million lives are lost due to unsafe food. Over 200 diseases are linked to food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances. The majority of people will experience some sort of food borne disease at some point in their lives. This is why it is crucial that we take any steps possible to help educate ourselves and others about the ways we can prevent eating food that isn’t safe. We should be able to feel certain the food on our plates is safe, but we all must practice awareness. For starters, follow these Five Keys to Safer Food published by the WHO:
- Key 1: Keep clean
- Key 2: Separate raw and cooked food
- Key 3: Cook food thoroughly
- Key 4: Keep food at safe temperatures
- Key 5: Use safe water and raw materials.