By Janiece Attal
Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) holds a World Health Day focusing on a new topic each year. This year, the focus is on food safety. The WHO estimates that every year there are 2 million deaths every year from contaminated food or drinking water.
Food safety is a global concern. The process of food reaching our plates has changed drastically and contaminated food can impact countries on the other side of the globe. There are 200 diseases that can be spread through food and proper handling, preparation, and storage can prevent nearly all of these. We typically think of problems from food as a short-term, acute problem; however, this isn’t completely true; the WHO shows that contaminated food with heavy metals or those with toxins can cause long-term problems like neurological disorders or cancer.
Food safety training has a real impact on combating foodborne illness. Considering that on average, Americans dine out 4 to 5 times a week, which means that the public interacts with foodservice workers at least once a week. The FDA shows that the presence of a Certified Food Protection Manager is positively correlated to safety and more consistent safety practices.
The WHO specifies 5 keys to safer food.
- Keep clean (proper hand washing, cleaning surfaces that touch raw food, and protecting food areas from animals)
- Separate raw and cooked (including utensils and storage containers)
- Cook thoroughly (use a thermometer ideally until food reaches 70 degrees C or 158 degrees F)
- Keep food at safe temperatures (do not leave food out for more than 2 hours)
- Use safe water and raw materials
To learn more about World Health Day, visit their site here, or join in on Twitter with #safefood.
Janiece Attal is a Product Manager, Food Services at Skillsoft.