Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

World Food Safety Day 2023 

Opening Remarks


Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General 

7 June 2023



Ladies and Gentlemen,

My dear brother Tedros, WHO Director-General,

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


FAO is proud to host the 5th World Food Safety Day celebration, together with WHO, as it provides an important opportunity to raise awareness and inspire action on food safety.


There cannot be food security and nutrition for all, without food safety. If a product is not safe to eat, we cannot call it food.


Agrifood systems need to produce increasing amounts of safe and nutritious food to meet the needs of a rising global population. And they must do so sustainably.


For this reason, we urgently need to transform our agrifood systems to make them more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.


This also requires safeguarding our natural resources, such as soil and water, preserving our precious biodiversity, and promoting the prudent use of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides and veterinary medicines.


But we need a common understanding on the identity, quality and safety of our food.


The FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission has been building such a food code, which has served as the world’s food safety and quality standard for the last 60 years.


This year’s World Food Safety Day theme - “Food standards save lives” - was chosen to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Through the Codex Secretariat, FAO supports Members in food safety through sound scientific-based safety standards, as well as expert data widely used by governments, industry and research centres worldwide.


Furthermore, relevant Codex expert committees have also established the maximum levels for food additives, and a Codex Pesticides Residues in Food Online Database was set up.


Earlier this year Codex launched a list of standards dealing with foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance, and also unveiled a code of practice for good agricultural and manufacturing practices to prevent and reduce lead contamination in foods.


FAO recognizes the crucial role of food standards to ensure food safety, to help protect human health, and to facilitate fair practices in food trade, especially as food trade continues to grow.


Food can only be safe if every person involved in its production, distribution and preparation ensures its safety.


Let us use World Food Safety Day to increase awareness on how food safety standards help ensure the Four Betters: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all, leaving no one behind.


Thank you.