ROME, June 7 (Xinhua) — Marking the World Food Safety Day, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Monday called for global actions to prevent the problems related to unsafe food processes.
In a virtual conference opened by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu from the headquarters in Rome, the agency warned that food safety was “everyone’s business” because it was related to both hunger and foodborne diseases.
Every year, UN experts said, some 600 million people would fall sick as a result of some 200 different types of foodborne illnesses, which were responsible for an average of 420,000 preventable deaths.
“The burden of such illness falls most heavily on the poor and on the young,” the FAO said, calling for stronger efforts among governments and international agencies to ensure food standards “based on robust and sound science.”
“In celebrating the World Food Safety Day, let us work collectively for global actions,” Qu said in his opening video message.
Since both were global challenges, Qu said that, food safety and hunger should be addressed with “innovative, holistic, and feasible food-chain solutions.”
“Food safety is essential to achieve more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems, and we should work together to transform agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,” said Qu, who is a former vice minister at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
During the conference, the FAO also launched five calls to actions addressing each actor in the supply chain, including producers, processors, transporters, distributors, retailers, cooks and consumers, since every step in this chain would hide hazards that could cause food contamination.