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Message from Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region


On World Food Safety Day, WHO South-East Asia Region calls to intensify efforts to prevent, detect, and manage the risk of foodborne diseases, which globally make 600 million people sick every year. In her message Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh explains that safe food is critical to promoting health and ending hunger, two of the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She also reminds that food safety is everyone’s business and we must all do our part.

“Though COVID-19 has not been transmitted by food, the pandemic has sharpened focus on food safety-related issues, from hygiene, AMR, and zoonotic diseases, to climate change, food fraud and the potential benefits of digitalizing food systems,” says Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh in her message.

Dr Singh highlights the work on “One Health” approach to food safety in the Region and a new Framework for Action on Food Safety, which was launched last year. She notes that in September the UN Food Systems Summit will provide a platform to promote concrete actions towards food system transformation, including on food safety.

Dr Singh’s World Food Safety Day message includes calls to action to different stakeholder groups and concludes: “We can – and must – deliver. Food systems touch every aspect of human existence. Building food systems that are safe and sustainable, and which work for the benefit of all, has a positive impact far beyond health, driving progress in all areas of development, from ending poverty, to increasing access to safe and clean water and reducing greenhouse emissions. In the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, it must be a core priority.”


Read the full message:

Read about WHO work in the region: