FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Pacific countries highlight the benefits of safe food for better health

09/06/2022 Fiji

World Food Safety Day is celebrated annually on 7 June to draw attention and mobilize action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks and improve human health. Coordinated jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), under the theme for this year’s World Food Safety Day, “Safer food, better health”, countries around the Pacific led various events and activities to mark the festivities.

In Fiji, the Ministry for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment coordinated a series of activities to celebrate the Day, including the organization of a speech contest with 10 local schools. The event was opened by Dr Mahendra Reddy, Hon Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment and featured a series of talks on a variety of topics, including food fraud, non-communicable diseases, pesticide residues and others.

In Samoa, the Day was co-led by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (MCIL), Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) with the support of FAO. A celebration was organized in Samoa’s capital, Apia. The event was opened by Mr Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, the Chief Executive Officer of MCIL. To spread the messages on the importance of food safety regulations and actions, a series of video interviews with key stakeholders in Samoa were circulated on TV and social media. A special trivia night around food safety facts was also held by a local TV station.

Other countries in the Pacific have also actively promoted the Day and its key messages:

  • If it is not safe, it is not food: Only when food is safe will it meet nutritional needs and help adults to live an active and healthy life and children to grow and develop.
  • Food safety has a direct impact on health: Safe food allows for the uptake of nutrients and promotes long-term human development.
  • Everyone is a risk manager: Everyone evaluates food safety risks as part of their daily choices. These choices are made by individuals and collectively by families, communities, businesses and governments.
  • Food safety is based on science: Consumers usually cannot tell from sight or smell whether their food is safe, but scientists have developed tests and tools to detect unsafe food. When safe practices are employed across the food chain, food becomes safe.
  • Strengthening collaboration improves food safety: Shared responsibility for food safety requires working together on issues that affect us all ‒ globally, regionally, nationally and locally.
  • Investing in food safety today will reap future rewards: Safe food production improves economic opportunities by enabling market access and productivity.

Safe food is one of the most critical guarantors for good health. Unsafe foods are the cause of many diseases and contribute to other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development, micronutrient deficiencies, non-communicable or communicable diseases and mental illness. Globally, an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year. Foodborne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature and caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.

“Food safety is everyone’s business,” noted Ms Xiangjun Yao, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands. “We encourage communities to be informed about food safety and practice safe food handling. Food businesses must identify, evaluate, and control their food safety hazards. Governments can establish, enforce and monitor policies that align with international food standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. If everyone does their part, we can ensure food safety for all.”

By celebrating this important day, countries stressed the need to transform food systems to deliver better health in a sustainable manner in order to prevent most foodborne diseases. Food systems policy-makers, practitioners and investors have been invited to reorient their activities to increase the sustainable production and consumption of safe foods in order to improve health outcomes.

FAO, jointly with WHO called on everyone to join the World Food Safety Day campaign to ensure safe food for all.

About WFSD

The United Nations General Assembly established World Food Safety Day in 2018 to raise awareness of this important issue. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other stakeholders.


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