Today is World Health Day 2015. What does this mean? The World Health Organisation (WHO) has nominated today as that day and highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety with the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.” Foodborne illnesses are a global threat in many regions and there is the need to maintain a safe food supply chain. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins. In 2010 there were an estimated 582 million cases of 22 different foodborne diseases and 351,000 associated deaths. E. Coli, Norovirus and Salmonella are responsible for most deaths. The WHO-FAO International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) is there to ensure effective and rapid communication during food safety emergencies.
Of course, the customer who is going to eat the food must practice good hygiene. Meet should be cooked thoroughly and food used within date. The WHO is working to ensure adequate, safe and nutritious food for everyone.
The WHO has developed the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food
- Keep Clean
One should wash their hands before handling food and often during food preparation. One should wash their hands after going to the toilet. One should wash and sanitise all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation. One should protect the kitchen areas from insects, pests and other animals
- Separate raw and cooked food
One should separate raw food, poultry and seafood from other foods. One should use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods. One should store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods.
- Cook thoroughly
One should cook food thoroughly especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. One should bring foods like soups and stews to boiling point to make sure they have reached 70 degrees Celsius. For meat and poultry one should make sure that the juices are clear, not pink. Ideally, a thermometer should be used. One should reheat cooked food thoroughly
- Keep food at safe temperatures
One should not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. One should promptly refrigerate all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5 degrees Celsius). One should keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60 degrees Celsius) prior to serving. One should not store food too long, even in the refrigerator. One should not thaw frozen food at room temperature
- Use safe water and raw materials
One should use safe water or treat it to make it safe. Only select fresh and wholesome foods. Choose foods processed for safety, such as processed milk. One should wash fruits and vegetables, especially if they are eaten raw. One should not use food beyond its expiry date.
WHO video – 7th April 2015