World Food Safety Day (7 June 2022): Safer food, better health

World Food Safety Day is celebrated on 7 June each year. This year the theme is ‘Safer food, better health’.

Background Information:

The United Nations General Assembly established World Food Safety Day in 2018 to raise awareness of this important issue. WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other stakeholders.

Key Messages:

Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked.

An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the worldfall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs).

The magnitude of the public health burden due to foodborne diseases is comparable to that of malaria or HIV AIDS.

Over 200 diseases are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances such as heavy metals.

US$ 110 billion is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.

Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year. Unsafe food caused one in six deaths from diarrhoea, a major killer in this age group.

Safe and nutritious foods benefit child growth and development by improving intellectual and physical potential, as well as increasing school performance and
work productivity in adult life.

If there are no contraindications, exclusive breastfeeding is the safest way to feed infants during the first six months of life.

Safe food benefits the economy by increasing productivity, allowing prosperous national food markets and stable food exports and trade. It reduces the strain on health care systems.

Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems and harming national economies, tourism and trade.

This year’s World Food Safety Day theme, “Safer food, better health”, highlights the role that safe, nutritional food plays in ensuring human health and well-being and calls for a set of specific actions to make food safer.

If it’s not safe, it is not food:
There is no food security without food safety. Only when food is safe will it meet nutritional needs and help adults to live an active and healthy life and children to grow
and develop.

Food safety has a direct impact on health:
Safe food allows for the uptake of nutrients, promotes long-term human development and achievement of SDGs. Most foodborne disease is preventable with proper food handling and education.

Everyone is a risk manager:
Everyone evaluates food safety risks as part of their daily choices. These choices
are made by individuals and collectively by families, communities, businesses and

Food safety is based on science:
Consumers usually cannot tell from sight or smell whether their food is safe, but
scientists have developed tests and tools to detect unsafe food. Food scientists,
microbiologists, veterinarians, medical doctors and toxicologists, to name a few, advise what food production, processing, handling and preparation practices are needed to make food safe. When safe practices are employed across the food chain, food becomes safe.

Strengthening collaboration improves food safety:
Shared responsibility for food safety requires working together on issues that affect us all – globally, regionally, nationally and locally. Collaboration is essential across sectors within communities, businesses, governments and across borders, to ensure the availability of safe food around the world in a sustainable manner now and in the future.

Investing in food safety today will reap future rewards:
Safe food production improves economic opportunities by enabling market access and
productivity. However, unsafe or contaminated food leads to trade rejections, economic losses and food loss and waste. Therefore, good practices along the supply chain can improve sustainability by minimizing environmental damage and helping to retain more agricultural product.

Useful Links:

Link to World Food Safety Day 2022 page:

Link to WHO fact sheet on Food Safety:

Link to related WHO video:


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