Today, June 7, marks the first U.N. World Food Safety Day.
According to WHO, contaminated food sickens nearly one in 10 people worldwide, or roughly 600 million people, resulting in 420,000 deaths annually.
In low- and middle-income countries, unsafe and contaminated food can slow development, which WHO said equates with the loss of approximately $95 billion in “productivity associated with illness, disability, and premature death suffered by workers.”
The theme of World Food Safety Day in 2019 is “food safety is everyone’s business.”
Food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development is impacted by the safety, or lack thereof, of the global food supply.
WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, have been tasked by the U.N. to promote food safety worldwide. By working with food producers, vendors, regulatory authorities and civil society stakeholders, the agencies will help countries “prevent, manage, and respond to risks along the food supply chain.”
“Whether you are a farmer, farm supplier, food processor, transporter, marketer or consumer, food safety is your business,” José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, said in a press release. “There is no food security without food safety.”
To mark the occasion, Infectious Disease News compiled five stories highlighting why World Food Safety Day is so critical. – by Marley Ghizzone
Large shigellosis outbreak at wedding linked to asparagus
Contaminated asparagus was the likely source of a large outbreak of shigellosis at a wedding party in Oregon that sickened 112 people, according to findings presented at the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, or EIS, conference. Read more.
Contaminated pre-cut melons cause multistate Salmonella outbreak
A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infection has been linked to pre-cut melons from Caito Foods. There have been 93 reported infections and 23 hospitalization but no reported deaths, the CDC said. Read more.
US saw increase in most foodborne infections in 2018
The incidence of most foodborne infections increased last year in the United States, according to newly published data from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet. Read more.
Salmonella infections declined after NYC required restaurants to post inspection grades
In New York City, Salmonella infections declined after the city health department mandated that restaurants post inspection letter grades in their windows, according to findings published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Read more.
Romaine lettuce outbreak linked to growing region in California
An outbreak of Escherichia coli in romaine lettuce that led to a nationwide disposal of the leafy greens just days before Thanksgiving has been linked to a growing region in California. Officials said companies will begin voluntarily labeling romaine to make it easier to identify the source of future outbreaks. Read more.
WHO. Food safety is everyone’s business. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/06-06-2019-food-safety-is-everyones-business. Accessed June 6, 2019.
Disclosure: da Silva works for the Food and Agriculture Organization.