First World Food Safety Day!

─ June 7 officially declared World Food Safety Day

─ declaration made mere weeks after Passage of Food Safety Bill

By Nikosi Bruce

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 7, 2019

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation (UN-FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared today, June 7, as the first World Food Safety Day.

A News Release from the UN-FAO outlined that “raising public awareness” is one of the main objectives of World Food Safety Day, which is expected to invoke reflection on our individual responsibilities in helping to keep our food safe and to reflect on the roles and responsibilities of food businesses and national institutions.

Sub-regional Coordinator for the UN-FAO, Dr. Renata Clarke is quoted as saying, “most people spend very little time thinking about food safety unless there is a crisis or a scandal of some sort. Yet, apart from the air that we breathe and the water we drink, there is nothing of more direct and routine importance to each of us every day. “

The WHO has estimated that the public health burden of foodborne illnesses is of the same magnitude as the burden of malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. As such, the report from the WHO was intended to be a “call to action” for governments to make more considerable investments in the area of Food Safety.

This declaration comes at a time when Guyana has just passed its Food Safety Bill of 2016, which will pave the way for the integration of all aspects of our food safety system and will see the creation of a Food Safety Authority.

Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, in his World Food Safety Day Message, speaks to the progress Guyana is set to make with the passage of this landmark bill.

“The prevailing conditions where food is being produced under risky, poor conditions and providing little security for the safety and soundness of the morsel or components thereof, is soon to be changed to an integrated system where production of food will be monitored from the farm to the table using risk-based analysis of the production systems.”

With the establishment of our Food Safety Authority, our farmers will have greater access to the foreign markets. Minister Holder, in his message, acknowledged the importance of this day for our farmers.

“Guyana boasts of a Vibrant Codex Committee, Bureau of Standards, and an Agriculture Ministry which is ensuring the availability of all the elements for success are at the disposal of the nation’s farmers. This is because, as we are all aware, without farmers there is no food, so the appointment of this 7th of June 2019 as World Food Safety Day is a loud acknowledgement of the work of our farmers and processors as producers of the most basic necessity of life, food.”

The UN-FAO has challenged consumers to “protect themselves and their families at home by choosing safe food vendors and restaurants that follow good hygiene practices”

Image: Akeem Thomas

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