If it’s unsafe, it’s not food

One of the things we take for granted in the world is food safety. We expect the US Food and Drug Administration, the EU’s Food Safety Authority, China’s Food and Drug Administration, the UK’s Food Standards Agency, India’s Food and Safety Standards Authority, Brazil’s National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance and Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency, to name just a few, to do the job and ensure that people don’t fall ill as a result of eating the food that is supplied to them every day.

As one participant in the recent webinar, “If it isn’t safe, it isn’t food: promoting food safety to achieve the 2030 SDG agenda,” noted, “Unsafe food does not nourish, and it can cause you harm.” It amounts to 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses per year, mostly in Asia and Africa, and this amounts to 475,000 people dying. Estimates are that one in ten people are getting sick from an ailment caused by their food, but this safety is currently neither measured nor managed.

Caroline Emond, director general of the IDF, also observed, “Food safety is at the core of the food system. Good food safety is essential to public health, to strengthen links between farmer, consumer and the food chain. Food safety is everyone’s business.”

So, it’s about getting a system together that can measure a country’s food safety parameters, and then employing a method to improve it. This should be done on a multiple country basis, as products cross borders from one country to another regularly. Ingredients in dairy products can come from afar as well. Basically, it is a sad thing when people get ill due to poor food safety, no matter where they reside on the planet. The UN Food Systems Summit is a way to try and alleviate that issue, and make sure that ending hunger is done in a way that is safe and nutritious for everyone.

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