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Celebrating health around the world - 7 April 2019


World Health Day celebrations on 7 April call for “Health for all – everyone, everywhere”, and we are reminded that the Codex vision of “safe, good food for everyone, everywhere” is a part of that agenda. But at least half of the people in the world do not receive the health services they need, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Contamination of foods is the cause of a significant disease burden, which is distributed all over the world”, said Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director of the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses, referring to the 420,000 lives and 33 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost per year. “The public health burden is heaviest for populations living in low and middle-income countries, namely in Africa and South Asia, and amongst children under 5 years of age”, he said.

Drawing the connection between this year’s theme for World Health Day and food safety, Miyagishima explained, “’While the prevention of foodborne diseases is most important, those people who contract disease due to unsafe food should be given access to basic health care. This is why Universal Health Care is important in combating foodborne diseases. For example, appropriate and timely rehydration can save many people suffering from diarrhoea”.

“Today is a day that should inspire action to improve human health globally”, Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt said, underscoring the steadfast efforts of the Codex Alimentarius Commission to do its part. “Codex standards address all aspects of modern food production and are based on sound science”, he said. 

The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally adopted food standards, guidelines and codes of practice designed to protect public health and ensure fair practices in the food trade. The standards are set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is run jointly by FAO and WHO.


Read more about World Health Day

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Photo credits: ©FAO/Simon Maina / FAO (top); ©FAO/Giampiero Diana / FAO