BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Food Safety



Food safety also known as food hygiene involves utmost care in handling food beginning from the point of production to the point of consumption. It is sometimes described as “From farm to fork”.[1] Safe food handling is critical to food safety and good health. The consequences of handling of food unsafely include increased risks of food borne illnesses such as diarrhea, nausea, fever and stomach cramps[2]. Food unsafe for human consumption may contain bacteria, viruses or parasites which can cause food poisoning.[3] According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, an estimate of about 48 million people fall ill from foodborne diseases annually with about 128, 000 hospitalizations and 3, 000 deaths[4].

The five keys to safer food developed by WHO in 2001 are aimed to educate people about safety regarding food handling behaviours. These keys consist of simple and practical methods to promote food safety, and include:

  • Keeping food clean
  • Cooking all food thoroughly
  • Separating raw food from cooked food
  • Storing food at safe temperatures
  • Using clean water and raw materials while cooking

These factors are considered to ensure that food is kept free from contamination. During preparation, food should be cooked at the right temperature, checking with a food thermometer so as to kill germs[5]. Also, proper separation of food items, particularly raw and cooked foods, should be maintained to avoid cross contamination. For example, eggs or raw meat shouldn’t be kept with food already prepared as this can spread germs[6]. It is also advised to use a different knife and cutting board for raw and cooked food to prevent transfer of germs.[7] Regarding food storage and processing, food should be properly frozen and thawed safely, or refrigerated. In keeping food safe, good sanitation practices such as washing of hands repeatedly with soap and clean water should be employed. Also, general knowledge and compliance with global food safety standards should be enforce when handing food for the public.[8] Food should be prepared, stored and processed in ways that will prevent foodborne diseases.

The benefits of keeping food safe are numerous. One is the reduction in the prevalence of food poisoning. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 600 million people in the world fall sick yearly from eating unsafe food.[9] Another is the protection of public health.[10] Contaminated food is a threat to public health[11]and must be treated as such. Everybody involved in the food chain owes a duty of care to keep food safe and free from contamination. Keeping food safe reduces wastes associated with spoilt food and  solves the problem of food insecurity[12]. A lot of people do not eat in restaurants because of fear of food poisoning. However, if everyone involved in the food chain plays a role in keeping food safe, the issue of food insecurity will be resolved.

In the words of Michael Johanns, “Food safety involves everybody in the food chain”. Everyone from the food manufacturers to the final consumers should be actively involved in ensuring safety of food because safe food guarantees good health.













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