Unsafe food can contain bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances, causing more than 200 diseases, from diarrhea to cancer. An estimated three million people die every year from food and waterborne disease, according to the United Nations.
Although we often take food safety for granted, this is also an issue in developed countries. People just normally do not think about it unless they get food poisoning.
In developing countries, the issue is exacerbated. Through our Saemaul Zero Hunger Communities Project we improved the livelihood of people not only with programs in food security but also in terms of health and water access.
World Food Safety Day
June 7 is a day to promote awareness to the topic and ask for effective regulatory food control systems, clean water, and good agriculture practices. Here are a few things that impact food safety:
- Sick animals and a spoilt environment – poor welfare can increase disease susceptibility among animals; there is also the misuse of medicines in farm animals, pesticides and pollutants.
- Climate change – temperature and humidity can affect soil quality and the nutritional content of crops; new plant pests, biotoxins and pathogens can cause diseases.
- Hygiene practices – lack of regulations at all stages of the food chain for clean and healthy handling, storage, processing, distribution, and final preparation.
Food safety relies on educating consumers and people in the supply chain, so that they can make informed choices and push for a safer food supply.