“From farm to plate, make food safe”…
Did you know that today is World Health Day? This day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO) which was founded in 1948, and is celebrated to draw people’s attention towards the importance of global health. Every year the WHO sets a different theme for the day. This year, World Health Day is focusing on food safety.
We probably don’t think about it as much as we should but unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses and chemical substances that can cause over 200 diseases.
What’s in your meal today? Do you know where the ingredients in your meal have come from? Were they safely handled during every stage from ‘farm to plate’? Many of us don’t know the answer to these questions and this is why the WHO is advocating for action in these areas on World Health Day. Trying to increase engagement with food producers, policy-makers and the public to promote food safety is one of their biggest priorities this year.
There are 5 key things (set by the WHO) that we can do at home to ensure we’re helping keep the risk of food-borne illnesses as low as possible, and keeping ourselves and our families healthy at the same time:
- Keep clean – wash all of your fruit and vegetables as they could have be subjected to harmful bacteria in the soil or water where they were grown
- Separate raw and cooked food – raw food, red meat and chicken, can contain harmful bacteria so keep them away from the cooked food that is sitting in your fridge ready to eat
- Cook food thoroughly – fully cooking seafood, meat and eggs helps to kill bacteria and lessens the risk of catching a food-borne illness like salmonella
- Keep food at safe temperatures – leaving raw meat out of the fridge for too long increases the chance of bacteria growing and spreading; try and find out the safest temperatures to keep all of your food at whilst at home
- Use safe water and safe raw materials – making sure we’re using clean water to wash our food (and our hands!) with, and fresh raw materials, eliminates the chances of becoming ill
We know from the WHO that a ‘local’ food safety problem can become an international emergency, especially if a single plate or package of food contains ingredients from multiple countries. This is why they are trying to work with food producers, internationally, to stop food-borne illnesses before they start across the world.
We play an important role in promoting food safety, from knowing how to cook potentially hazardous foods correctly, to just reading the labels properly when buying our food. If everyone across the world followed the WHO’s 5 key principles, the risk of catching a food-borne illness would be a lot less!
What do you do to ensure you’re staying healthy and cooking safely?