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NEWS RELEASE World Health Day 2015: Unsafe food poses serious threats to public health

NEWS RELEASE World Health Day 2015: Unsafe food poses serious threats to public health

Apr 07, 2015 - 13:12

7 April 2015 ¦ KABULinfo-iconWorldinfo-icon Healthinfo-icon Day was celebrated today in Kabul under the slogan “from farm to plate, make food safe”, highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety. New data from the World Health Organization on the harm caused by foodborne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain.

Unsafe food is known to be involved in more than 200 different diseases – from communicable diseases, such as cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases, to a range of noncommunicable diseases, including various forms of cancer. Examples of unsafe food include under-cooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

“There is a constant increase in the number of health problems arising from unsafe food. The lack of financial support in this sector is a big challenge for the health and good nutrition of the people in Afghanistaninfo-icon. We seek the support of our national and international partners to strengthen collaboration on improving food safety,” said Minister of Public Health Dr Ferozuddin Feroz.

New food law for Afghanistan is currently being processed by the Ministry of Justice in order to strengthen food safety and hygiene guidelines and regulations. WHO is supporting the Ministry of Public Health in establishing a Food and Drug Authority (FDA) for Afghanistan, with the goal of having the FDA operational within the next six years.

“The safety of our food is something that is fundamental to the health and well-being of every single one of us. To guarantee food safety, we need to foster multi-sectoral collaboration among public health, animal health, agricultureinfo-icon, commerce and other sectors for better communication and joint action,” said WHO Country Representative Dr Rik Peeperkorn. “Reforming food safety systems and enforcing food laws should be placed high on the public health agenda.”

The public plays an important role in promoting food safety, from practising safe food hygiene and learning how to take care when cooking specific foods that may be hazardous (such as raw chicken), to reading the labels when buying and preparing food. WHO’s “Five Keys to Safer Food” explain the basic principles that each individual should know to prevent foodborne diseases, including: keep clean; separate raw and cooked; cook thoroughly; keep food at safe temperatures; and use safe water and raw materials.

WHO is working to ensure access to adequate, safe and nutritious food for everyone. The Organization supports countries to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne disease outbreaks—in line with the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice covering all main foods.

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