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World Food Safety Day 2023: History, Theme, Significance, and Essential Practices for Healthy and Safe Meals

World Food Safety Day on June 7, 2023, aims to address foodborne risks and promote food security, health, economic prosperity, and sustainable development.

Shivangi Rai
World Food Safety Day is celebrated every year on June 7 to draw attention to food standards so that what we eat is safe and doesn't make us ill (Image Courtesy- Pexels)
World Food Safety Day is celebrated every year on June 7 to draw attention to food standards so that what we eat is safe and doesn't make us ill (Image Courtesy- Pexels)

World Food Safety Day is celebrated annually on June 7 to promote awareness and emphasize the significance of practicing safe measures in relation to food.

This global event is a collaborative initiative between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ensuring food safety is of paramount importance due to the potential health risks associated with consuming contaminated food, which can lead to foodborne illnesses, outbreaks, and even fatalities. Unsafe food can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances. Inadequate hygiene practices, improper handling of food, and insufficient measures for storage and processing are among the contributing factors to foodborne illnesses.

World Food Safety Day 2023: Theme

The Theme for the World Food Safety Day 2023 is “Food Standards Save Lives” aiming to recognize the significance of food standards across the globe in keeping consumers safe, and in bracing an equitable trade in food.

World Food Safety Day 2023: History

World Food Safety Day was established by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, with the proposal put forward by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and co-sponsored by 44 countries. It was designated to be observed annually on June 7th.

The establishment of World Food Safety Day reflects the growing global concern surrounding food safety and the necessity for collective efforts to address this issue. It acknowledges that ensuring safe food practices is essential not only for public health but also for sustainable development, food security, and international trade.

The first observance of World Food Safety Day took place on June 7, 2019, under the theme "Food Safety, Everyone's Business." The objective was to raise awareness and encourage preventive measures, early detection, and effective management of foodborne risks. It underscored the shared responsibility of governments, producers, and consumers in maintaining safe food practices throughout the entire food chain.

Since then, World Food Safety Day has been observed annually, focusing on various themes related to food safety. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) collaborate each year to develop key messages, organize events, and engage stakeholders worldwide in promoting the importance of food safety.

World Food Safety Day 2023: Significance

The primary goal of World Food Safety Day is to foster the prevention, detection, and management of foodborne diseases. Its focus is on highlighting the importance of safe practices in handling, storing, and preparing food to prevent illnesses and safeguard the health of individuals and communities worldwide.

The observance of World Food Safety Day has made a significant impact by raising awareness, facilitating the exchange of knowledge, and advocating for enhanced food safety practices on a global scale. It has prompted governments, food industries, civil society organizations, and individuals to recognize food safety as a fundamental element of public health and sustainable development, encouraging them to prioritize and address this crucial issue.

World Food Safety Day 2023: Essential Practices for Healthy and Safety Meals

There are some essential practices one should follow for healthy and safe meals:

  1. Prioritize hand hygiene

Begin by washing your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling any food. By maintaining proper hand hygiene, you can eliminate harmful bacteria and prevent contamination.

  1. Ensure clean surfaces

Keep your kitchen surfaces spotless and free from harmful pathogens. Regularly sanitize countertops, cutting boards, and utensils to prevent the spread of contaminants.

  1. Check for freshness and damage

Ensure the freshness and cleanliness of ingredients before cooking or consuming. Inspect them for signs of spoilage or damage and avoid using questionable food items.

  1. Separate raw and cooked foods

Practice proper separation of raw and cooked foods in your refrigerator. Use separate utensils, cutting boards, and storage containers to prevent cross-contamination. Keep raw food on lower shelves while placing cooked food on higher shelves.

  1. Cook food thoroughly

Ensure the safety of cooked food by properly cooking it to a temperature that kills harmful bacteria and pathogens. Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches safe levels. Avoid thawing frozen food on the counter as it can lead to spoilage and bacterial growth.

  1. Maintain appropriate refrigeration

Keep your refrigerator temperature at 5°C or below and freezer temperature below -15°C. Refrigerate perishable food, such as dairy, meat, seafood, cut fruit, vegetables, and leftovers, within two hours (and within one hour if exposed to high temperatures). Promptly store leftovers after meals to prevent bacterial growth.

  1. Store food mindfully

Store food in suitable containers to minimize exposure to air and contaminants. Ensure the containers are clean and in good condition, using them solely for storing food. Seal containers tightly with appropriate lids or plastic film to reduce contamination. Label items with dates to monitor freshness and avoid consuming expired food. When refrigerating warm or hot food, divide it into several clean, shallow containers for chilling faster.

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