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Promoting food safety in Pakistan – awareness walk, radio show, and seminars


To mark World Food Safety Day 2023, FAO Pakistan organized activities ranging from a radio talk show and an awareness walk to seminars targeting students, farmers, and the general community. The walk, which took place on 7 June 2023 in Islamabad, brought almost 80 key stakeholders to march in solidarity and show commitment to collective action to prevent foodborne illnesses.

“We wanted to highlight the crucial role of food safety in protecting public health and promoting sustainable development. This walk helped us to draw attention to the risks associated with contaminated or unsafe food. Also, it provided an opportunity to encourage governments, organizations, and individuals to take action to increase their awareness about safe food practices,” said Javaria Alam, FAO Animal Disease Surveillance Officer and ACT Project Coordinator in Pakistan.

In addition, Dr. Muhammad Afzal, FAO Pakistan Animal Health Advisor, talked about foodborne antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on a national radio show, where he encouraged listeners to make conscious choices while purchasing and consuming food and to advocate for stronger food safety regulations.

On that day, FAO Pakistan also met with the Chief Commissioner of the Capital Development Authority and representatives of the Islamabad Food Authority to discuss food safety and the alarming rise of AMR. The Commissioner highlighted the significant risks posed by foodborne AMR, stressed the importance of the collective efforts of all stakeholders in tackling these challenges, and expressed his support.

As part of the campaign, different seminars were organized at the Rawalpindi Women's University exclusively for female students and at the ARID Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the Fleming Fund, the Islamabad Food Authority, and the Institute of Food and Nutritious Science. The events brought together students and experts to discuss food safety and foodborne AMR.

Also, an awareness session for the community was organized in collaboration with a global non-profit organization Bond e Shams in Nowshera district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The session, conducted in local languages, aimed to educate community members on food safety, vaccination, AMR, and antimicrobial use. Participants, mainly farmers, learned about safe food handling, the role of farmers in combating AMR through good husbandry practices, and the significance of regular animal vaccination.

FAO Pakistan, as part of the “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR texts (ACT)”, continues activities in promoting food safety and combatting foodborne antimicrobial resistance.

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Photo credits
@ FAO Pakistan/Shahveiz Hassan
Caption: 7 June 2023, Islamabad, Pakistan – Muhammad Afzal, FAO Animal Health Advisor, shared insights with the local TV.  From left to right: Khalid Chaudhary, Coordinator at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Usman Ashraf, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Capital Territory, Muhammad Afzal, FAO Animal Health Advisor, Tahira Siddique, Deputy Director at the Islamabad Food Authority.