In the midst of COVID-19, enforcing social distancing, and attempts to reopen the economy, we neglected to celebrate June 7, 2020 as the 2nd Annual World Food Day, sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers,” states Dr. Francesco Branca from the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety at WHO. “Everybody has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and will not cause damages to our health.”
According to FAO, 10 % of the world’s population will suffer from contaminated food this year and over 420,000 people will die from foodborne illness. They emphasize the importance for everyone to
- Keep areas where food is prepared clean.
- Separate raw foods from cooked foods.
- Cook foods thoroughly.
- Store foods at safe temperatures.
- Use safe water and raw materials.
Food safety is one of the key issues for environmental health professionals—one that NEHA’s Government Affairs (GA) team plans to ensure remains on policy maker agendas. NEHA will continue our work through the policies adopted by the NEHA board to promote food safety with our counterparts at the Food and Drug Administration, the food safety programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The GA team will also use the NEHA food safety policies to highlight the importance of food safety with our nation’s state legislatures and governors’ offices.
Our goal is to enlighten policy makers as to the importance of food safety and the environmental health profession.
Doug Farquhar is the Director of Government Affairs at the National Environmental Health Association in Denver, Colorado.