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Safe Food can Save You From Serious Diseases

According to the UN, There are More than 200 Diseases Derived from Unsafe Food on the Entire Planet.

Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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When we mean "safe food", we are referring to: “Food that does no harm”; and it is precisely this term that the UN celebrated on June 7, on World Food Safety Day.

For this international organization, it is important that all people in the world not only have food to eat, but that they can do so in a healthy and hygienic way. This is explained in the Guide for World Food Safety Day 2022, a document that recalls that “we are all food consumers and we all want the food we consume to be safe. Why? Foodborne illnesses can range from mild to very serious and even lead to death.”

At that point, the idea with this guide is to show the different activities in which people from all over the planet can participate, precisely to create a greater awareness of the relevance of maintaining food safety and thus taking care of health. human.

“Everyone has a role to play, whether they grow food, process it, transport it, store it, sell it, buy it, prepare it or serve it, because food safety is in our hands,” adds the document.

The data that leaves the "safety" of food in the world

It should be remembered that this guide is developed under the tutelage of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), both belonging to the UN; hence the importance of this document and the information it compiled.

Currently, there are more than 200 diseases that derive from the consumption of unsafe food, that is, that are contaminated either by living beings such as bacteria, viruses or parasites, as well as chemical substances that are mostly heavy metals.

This situation means that one in 10 people (that is, 10% of the world's population) suffers, precisely, from one of these diseases; a reality that does not discriminate countries, races or social status.

Of course, this means that unsafe food diseases are also considered a health calamity throughout the planet, comparing it, according to UN information, with the burden borne by public health with diseases such as malaria or HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) itself.

In addition, it is children under five who are most affected by these diseases, since they “have a higher risk of suffering from malnutrition and mortality due to the ingestion of harmful foods and represent 40% of the burden related to foodborne diseases” .

However, not all are bad news in the Guide, because in addition to the problems caused by unsafe food, the document also shows data on how to reduce this reality and the efforts that are being made so that they are increasingly most healthy food in the world.

For example, it is known that, to date, there are 188 countries (in addition to the European Union) that have committed to improving the entire process of generating, selling and consuming safe food on the planet. "They have negotiated science-based recommendations in all areas related to food safety and quality...that ensure food is safe and marketable."

Likewise, the information shows that focusing efforts on improving the capacity of countries to have better food not only benefits public health, but also the economy, "by increasing productivity, allowing prosperous national food markets and exports and a stable food trade.” In addition, food loss and waste is greatly reduced and helps reduce climate change on Earth.

It may interest you: Agroecology: the future of your food

How to store food correctly?

One of the most important points in the Food Safety Guide is precisely the one that explains which are the most important social actors in the middle of the food care chain, with consumers being the final link.

For the UN, it is relevant that the consumer is aware of the need to stay informed about food safety and that he promotes such information. However, it is even more important that you be able to practice “safe food handling at home” correctly.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shown the same concern, an entity that has developed a series of guidelines to store food optimally at home. Among the most important tips are:

  1. Correctly refrigerate the food, taking care of aspects such as the cold chain, the time of food consumption (after opening) and even the way in which they are marinated in the fridge.
  2. As for freezing, the FDA advises putting well-cooked or prepared foods and avoiding long-term storage at all costs. Likewise, it is advisable to freeze them in packages and that when defrosting them, it is done directly in the refrigerator or with the help of the “defrost” function of the microwave.
  3. For storage at room temperature, that is, in the pantry, what is really important is to verify that the food is not about to expire or, in the case of cans, that they are not leaking. Care must also be taken not to mix food with chemical products and to keep the storage area clean.

In summary, the points to keep in mind at all times, according to the UN, are: "maintain cleanliness, separate raw and cooked food, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures and use safe water and raw materials."