Safe Food Now for a Healthy Tomorrow
Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.Hippocrates
World Food Safety Day observed on 7 June 2021. It aims to draw attention to the need to prevent and manage foodborne risks, ensuring food security and sustainable development. In recognition of the global burden of foodborne diseases, the UN in 2018 adopted the observation of World Food Safety Day with WHO, and the Food and Agriculture Organization joins the efforts.
After air and water, food is the third most essential thing for sustaining life. People often take for granted that the food we consume is safe. In an increasingly complex and interconnected chain, the production and consumption of safe food have both immediate and long-term implications. The health of people, animals, plants, the environment, and the economy is interconnected. Realising and ensuring balanced growth is the need of the times. Food safety is everyone’s business and shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers. Government must provide safe and nutritious food for all. Good practices to be adopted in food production.
WHO reiterates, access to enough safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical substances, causes several diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancer. Almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food. More than 4,00,000 people lose their lives every year. Children under five years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, accosting for >30% of deaths every year. The impact is disproportionate. They are affecting vulnerable and marginalised people, especially women and children. People living in the zones of prolonged wars and armed conflicts are disproportionately affected, so is the case with the migrants.
A food shortage may happen when not enough food is produced or when crops fail due to various reasons. The WTO estimates that if the total quantity of food produced is divided among all the people on earth, there would be enough food to feed everyone. Unfortunately still, there is poverty and hunger. Food scarcity has a strong linkage to ensuring food safety. Prolonged human-created situations like wars and armed conflicts result in food scarcity and, consequently, the safety of food that is made available to the citizens. The instability of governments also results in affecting the availability of food.
Heartening to note that India is the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses, and jute and ranks as the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruit, and cotton. It is also one of the leading producers of spices, fish, poultry, livestock, and plantation crops. The challenge is to make the societies equitable, and the resources are available to all. Adopting good practices in food production is coming into focus. For much of its history, agriculture was organic. In the name of achieving progress, humanity lost the direction of ensuring the production of safe food. Societies are struggling to get back to what it was, organic.