Foodborne diseases affect 1 in 10 people worldwide each year. There are over 200 of these diseases — some mild, but others deadly.
Foodborne bacteria are often naturally present in food and under the right conditions, a single bacterium can grow into millions of bacteria in a few hours. These bacteria multiply rapidly on foods when food temperature is between 5 °C and 60 °C, which is often known as the “food danger zone” and when moisture content is high. Therefore, most foodborne illnesses and outbreaks are reported during the summer months and during monsoons.
“Everybody has a role to play in ensuring that from “farm to table,” the food that we consume is safe and does not damage our health. Through health promotion campaigns, WHO endeavours to integrate food safety with mainstream public discourse to help reduce the burden of foodborne diseases,” says Dr Roderico H. Ofrin, WHO Representative to India.
Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers. World Food Safety Day observed on 7 June by WHO and partner organisations globally, marks the beginning of a year-round advocacy efforts to draw attention and mobilizes action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks and improve human health.
In 2022, the theme, “Safer food, better health”, highlights the role that safe, nutritional food plays in ensuring human health and well-being and calls for a set of specific actions to make food safer. It also emphasizes the importance of reducing food wastage to improve food safety and health for ‘Our Planet, Our Health’.
WHO India’s initiated a digital campaign on food safety in June 2022 to create public awareness amongst the public as well as food business on reducing the burden of foodborne diseases. The combined reach of the campaign on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter was over 12 mn (1.2 crores) as of June 2022. The campaigns messages reached out to — 7.5 mn people on YouTube, 3.5 mn on Facebook and 1.5 on Twitter.
We all have a role to play; whether we grow, process, transport, store, sell, buy, prepare or serve food, food safety is in all our hands. And if we work together, we can all help achieve safer food for better health.