The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) launched a campaign on Tuesday to mark World Food Safety Day, an awareness day created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight the importance of safe food practices and help prevent foodborne illnesses. It falls each year on 7 June, and this year’s slogan was “safer food, better health”.
Why Does This Matter?
According to the WHO, 1 in 10 people worldwide develops a foodborne illness each year, and there are over 200 diseases caused by eating food contaminated by viruses, bacteria, or even chemical residues. While many of those cases are mild and appear as easily treatable instances of “food poisoning”, some can be life-threatening. As a result, the WHO focused this year’s campaign on the role that safe, nutritious food plays in maintaining the health of communities and has called for a specific set of actions to achieve that. Additionally, the organisation also emphasised the duty of all individuals to maintain safe food practices, whether they grow, sell, buy, prepare, or serve food.
The WHO’s key messages for this year are:
1- If it is not safe, it is not food.
2- Food safety has a direct impact on health.
3- Everyone is a risk manager.
4- Food safety is based on science.
5- Strengthening collaboration improves food safety.
6- Investing in food safety will reap future rewards.
Food Safety Fact-checks
In addition to sharing and explaining World Food Safety day’s key messages, the MOPH also clarified these food safety facts on its social media platforms:
• You cannot tell how safe food is just by looking at it or smelling it: many disease-causing microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and fungi do not change the look, smell, or taste of food.
• The “five-second rule” is false: microorganisms can get on food as soon as it is dropped on the floor, and they sometimes cause sickness.
• You should wash fruits and vegetables with clean water before peeling them: this helps remove soil and other residues from produce, making it safer to eat.
• You shouldn’t wash raw poultry with water before cooking: this can cause microorganisms to spread to the hands, surfaces, and utensils.
• You shouldn’t thaw food at room temperature: thawing food in the fridge or cold water instead can help stop the growth of microorganisms.
Where to Learn More
You can learn more about World Food Safety 2022 by visiting who.int/campaigns/world-food-safety-day/2022 and following #WorldFoodSafety day on social media. Through that hashtag, you can find out all of the information shared by the MOPH and other health bodies about the campaign.