April 7 marks the World Health Day. The theme for the year is Food safety - making food safe right from the farm to our plates.
Farmers, cooks, food stores and consumers alike have vital roles in ensuring food is clean and safe enough for consumption to avoid causing harm to the body.
We don't need pesticides and other toxic chemicals in our food.
“Food production has been industrialized and its trade and distribution have been globalized,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “These changes introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.”
Dr Chan adds: “A local food safety problem can rapidly become an international emergency. Investigation of an outbreak of foodborne disease is vastly more complicated when a single plate or package of food contains ingredients from multiple countries.”
Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases - ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.
We are what we eat. So apart from checking only calories, we must ensure we have clean, pesticide-free and safe food.
Using these simple keys, you can play your role in food safety. Not just for you, but for your family.
Keys to keeping your food safe:
- Wash your hands before cooking and eating.
- Seperate raw and cooked food when shopping and storing in the fridge.
- Wash fruits carefully under running water and not with soap.
- Cook food thoroughly.
- Keep food at safe temperatures in the fridge.
- Use clean water and utensils.
- Do not spray pesticides that probably cause cancer on food.