World Food Safety Day: reflecting on Challenges and Solutions

Friday, June 7, 2024 - 12:56

World Food Safety Day, celebrated annually on June 7th, highlights the importance of safe practices in the production, handling, and consumption of food. This day is essential for raising awareness about food safety, a vital issue that affects the health of millions of people worldwide.

Despite significant advances in the food industry and regulation, foodborne illnesses caused by contaminated food continue to pose a major public health threat globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses are recorded each year. This means that almost one in ten people in the world fall ill after consuming contaminated food, with 40% being children under 5 years old. Food safety is, therefore, an extremely important public health issue, requiring coordinated attention and action at a global level.

The theme for 2024, launched by the WHO, is "Be Prepared for the Unexpected," emphasizing the importance of being ready for incidents that may directly or indirectly threaten food safety, regardless of their severity. These can be small-scale incidents with low impact or major international crises. Examples include a power outage at home, food poisoning at a local restaurant, voluntary recalls of contaminated products associated with illness cases in several countries, natural disasters, pandemics, or wars. These situations can occur unexpectedly and have a significant impact on food safety.

Other challenges such as the increasing globalization of markets, resource scarcity, economic instability, mass migrations, and climate change contribute to the rise of unexpected events compromising food safety. This makes it essential for governments, international organizations, the private sector, and society to collaborate to ensure the safety and quality of food at all stages of the food chain. The education and scientific research promoted by the Faculty of Biotechnology (ESB) and its research center, the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF), are at the forefront of these efforts, significantly contributing to the improvement of food safety, ensuring consumers have access to safe, healthy, and high-quality food.

Let us use this World Food Safety Day to reflect on the importance of this issue and to prepare for the unexpected. With over 30 years of experience, ESB and CBQF, institutions of reference in promoting food safety, will continue to lead in education and research in this area, responding to and anticipating unexpected challenges, ensuring food safety "from farm to fork." This commitment not only protects public health but also contributes to building a healthier and more sustainable future for all.

Let this day be a prompt for us to reflect:

Dia Mundial da Segurança Alimentar - interior