FAO raises alarm over food safety issues

June 14, 2024 6:45 am

The Food and Agriculture Organization has raised alarms about the severe food safety issues in the Asia-Pacific region, including Fiji.

FAO UN Representative Joanne Young says pre-pandemic figures indicate that approximately 225,000 people die annually from food-borne illnesses in this region, accounting for more than half of the global fatalities.

Young says alarmingly, children make up 30 percent of these deaths.

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“So the hazards of unsafe food are all around us every day. While food poisoning is often caused by eating food that has encountered traces of human or animal feces from contaminated handling or surfaces, it can also be caused by improper storage.

Young says many of these hazards can be mitigated through better hygiene practices and proper food handling.

Consumers also play a crucial role in food safety by staying informed and prepared for food safety incidents.

This collective responsibility is emphasized on World Food Safety Day, celebrated on June 14th in Fiji, under the slogan “Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected.”

World Food Safety Day, established by the United Nations in 2019, aims to raise awareness about the importance of safe food.

This year’s observance calls for everyone to contribute to reducing the risks associated with unsafe food and to be vigilant in ensuring food safety.