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The UN proclaims World Food Safety Day!

A market in the capital Accra

Ghana to join the rest of the world in celebrating the day.

The United Nations General Assembly at its 62nd plenary meeting in December 2018 has adopted a resolution proclaiming a World Food Safety Day. Starting on   7 June 2019.

Every 7 June will be a time to celebrate the myriad benefits of safe food. Food safety is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and celebrating the World Food Safety Day would bring this into the spotlight, thus, helping prevent, detect and manage foodborne disease risks. Safe food contributes to economic prosperity, boosting agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.

Notable amongst the SDGs include:

  • The SDG 2- Zero Hunger which can be achieved when everybody have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. Hence, food and nutrition security cannot be achieved without food safety.
  • The SDG 3-Good health and Wellbeing- Food safety has a direct impact on people’s health and nutritional intake. Foodborne diseases are preventable. Hence, to achieve SDG 3-Good Health and Wellbeing, issues of food safety has to be prioritized in the development agenda.
  • The SDG 12-Responsible Consumption and Production can be achieved when countries strengthen their regulatory, scientific and technological capacities to ensure that food is safe and of the expected quality throughout the food chain. In doing so, countries move towards a more sustainable pattern of food production and consumption as food wastage or spoilage is minimized.

A globalized world with annual food exports currently in excess of USD 1.6 trillion and complex food systems demands international cooperation across sectors to ensure that food is safe. Food safety is thus a shared responsibility among governments, food industries, producers and consumers.

Theme for the maiden celebration

This maiden World Food Safety Day is being celebrated taking into account that the global burden of foodborne diseases is considerable and negatively affects individuals of all ages, in particular children under 5 years of age, and persons living in low-income regions of the world, and is under the theme Food Safety, Everyone’s Business’.

Cognizant of the urgent need to raise awareness at all levels and to promote and facilitate actions for global food safety, on the basis of scientific principles, in line with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the World Trade Organization.

Unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionally affecting vulnerable and marginalized people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict and migrants. It also affects negatively global trade leading to further food waste, which can no longer be tolerated in a world where many still suffer from hunger. The new annual observance of World Food Safety Day, established , thanks to concerted efforts led by Costa Rica, will draw attention and strengthen the  direct efforts to stopping the roughly 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses that occur annually.

Celebrating the day in Ghana

The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) in Ghana, the National Development Planning Commission and the Ghana Food and Drug Authority will jointly mark  the first-ever World Food Safety Day, with a symposium in Accra on 7th June, 2019.

The day will be marked with a symposium to raise awareness and public interest on food safety issues in the country by multistakeholders. The stakeholders will identify and discuss pertinent food safety issues along the food chain, develop follow up actions containing recommendations to address the food safety issues identified and get the buy-in of relevant institutions to implement recommendations from the symposium.