World Food Safety Day to take place on June 7

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will organize the inaugural "World Food Safety Day" on June 7, to raise awareness of good health practices and promote the role of food in sustaining life around the globe.

The day was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December last year as part of its efforts to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of food borne diseases globally, according to officials.

Safe food practices encourage socioeconomic development, ease the strain on healthcare systems and boost national economies, tourism and trade.

“With an estimated 600 million cases of food borne diseases annually, almost one in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food; food borne diseases is an increasing threat to human health,” explained a UN spokesperson.

“Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is the key to sustaining life and promoting good health.”

Food safety is also central to achieving several of the UN’s own Sustainable Development Goals and is recognized as a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers.

Everybody has a role to play from farm to table to ensure food we consume is safe and will not cause undue damage to people’s health.

In the supplement and functional food industry, safety is something that has been made a top priority. Historically, there have been few cases of dietary supplements causing medical problems, but examples are not unknown.

Earlier this month, one man in Italy fell ill with hepatitis after taking a specific brand of turmeric food supplement, batches of which were later recalled. Last year, a UK man ended up with a damaged liver which was blamed on a reaction to a green tea supplement he’d been using.

Thankfully, such incidents are extremely rare and not usually serious, but health professionals have said that following a few simple rules of advice can help consumers avoid complications.

First, when choosing your new supplement, you should buy from reputable suppliers, who will have put their products through rigorous quality assurance tests.

When starting a new diet, check to make sure if any supplement has been tested in clinical trials involving people that are comparable in terms of age, sex and medical background.

Third, consumers should look out for warnings on packaging and always carefully read the label. For example, those with heart conditions will want to check the ingredients are not going to affect them adversely.

Finally, people should be cautious about taking lots of different supplements at the same time and stick within the recommended doses.

The world health body said the overall theme for this year’s celebration is “Food Safety, everyone’s business”.

There is no food security without food safety and in a world where the food supply chain has become more complex, any adverse food safety incidents may have global negative effects.

World Food Safety Day is an opportunity to secure efforts to ensure that the food we eat is not dangerous.

Whether you produce, process, sell or prepare food, then you have a role in keeping it safe. Business operators must make sure food is safe. Additionally, proper processing, storage and preservation help to retain nutritional value and food safety as well as reduce unnecessary losses.

Food safety will be a major topic of discussion at the forthcoming 4th Nutraceutical and Functional Food Asia Pacific Summit organized by Duxes from June 25 to June 26, 2019.

“Attending a health food summit or a dietary supplement summit such as this can be a good way of learning about all of the key food safety issues from leaders in the industry,” said a spokesperson of the event.

Among the speakers and attendees will be representatives from the China Food and Drug Administration and CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, as well as other dietary structure and senior nutrition experts.

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