Safer food, better world
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Today marks the fourth World Food Safety Day. A day the World Health Organization is using to highlight the role that safe, nutritional food plays in ensuring human health.
The theme for this year’s World Food Safety Day, “Safer food, better health” seeks to inspire global participation.
And so it should. The WHO’s campaign brings into focus that 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, one in ten people are affected by foodborne diseases annually.
The world faces many challenges — from climate change to shifting consumer trends — to minimise the impact of disease and protect those with allergies and intolerances.
The campaign stresses the need to transform food systems to deliver better health in a sustainable manner to prevent most foodborne diseases.
Food systems policy-makers, practitioners and investors are invited to reorient their activities to increase the sustainable production and consumption of safe foods to improve health.
Creating a robust, healthy food system, that is also ethical and sustainable, is going to be one of the major challenges of the 21st century.
How do we replace synthetic, petrochemical-based, plastics, which have an environmental footprint but are very effective in preventing food contamination?
Furthermore, how do we ensure the sustainable production, integrity and safety of our food?
The work that goes into ensuring that food is safe for consumption is often unseen. But, to facilitate and maintain the safety of our food is on us all — from consumers to producers to governments.
Currently, there is emphasis on new food sources that range from algae of freshwater and marine origin to plants and insects. Such food sources will have to undergo novel or adjusted food processing technologies. This will require research to understand the microbiological hazards.
There may be new challenges that come from the development of novel foods and we need to be able to understand whether novel sources of food are safe. Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to achieving sustainable food solutions. The fine line between promoting innovation in food and ensuring food safety is one that has to be carefully tread to strengthen the world’s food security.
Novel foods could help to encourage healthier and more sustainable diets. An important part of this process is building consumer trust and acceptance, and the food industry must work alongside consumers to ensure the development of novel foods is transparent and safe.
We have multiple challenges ahead of us so we need to make sure that food safety systems are equipped to identify, evaluate, and respond to existing and emerging issues. In doing this, we can shape the future of food together and have a better impact on the achievement of the goals on health and food security.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
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