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Saturday, June 22, 2024

World Food Safety Day:Preparing for the unexpected

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As we mark World Food Safety Day 2024, it is crucial to reflect on the paramount importance of ensuring the safety of our food supply. In a world where foodborne illnesses affect millions annually, this day serves as a reminder of the critical need for vigilance and initiative-taking measures to protect public health.
This year’s theme, “Food Safety – Prepare for the Unexpected,” carries a profound message: the unexpected can pose significant challenges to food safety, and preparedness is key to mitigating risks. Whether it is a power outage disrupting food storage or international alerts on food contamination, being prepared can save lives and prevent widespread illness.
Against the backdrop of this theme, it is important to highlight the five keys to safer foods: clean hands and surfaces, separation of raw and cooked foods, thorough cooking, safe food temperatures, and the use of safe water and raw materials. These simple yet effective practices can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and safeguard public health.
Moreover, strengthening risk-based inspections and fostering collaboration between consumers and vendors are essential components of ensuring food safety. By working together, we can identify potential hazards, implement preventive measures, and uphold ambitious standards of food safety across the entire supply chain.
In The Gambia, the day will be commemorated in Essau, North Bank Region on June 07, 2024. This community is one of the frontline defenders of food safety due to its proximity to significant food border points such as Amdalai. The influx of food from various sources necessitates strict adherence to food safety standards to keep the population safe and free from potential health risks.
The role of international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in promoting food safety in partnership with the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA), is immense. Through initiatives such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, FAO and WHO facilitate the development of international food standards and guidelines, providing a framework for countries to harmonize their food safety regulations and practices.
On the home front, FAO’s support for CODEX interventions has been instrumental in strengthening the national CODEX structure and enhancing food safety standards. Through sensitization and capacity-building initiatives, individuals and institutions have been empowered with the knowledge and skills needed to manage food safety risks effectively.
World Food Safety Day serves as a reminder of the critical importance of food safety in safeguarding public health. By embracing preparedness, adopting safer food practices, and fostering collaboration, we can create a healthier and more resilient future.
This event therefore serves as an opportunity to raise awareness, inspire action, and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the safety and integrity of our food supply. The health and well-being of our communities depend on it.

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