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WHO basic guidelines for Food Safety

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people worldwide suffer from unsafe food related ailments every year, and many die as a result of eating unsafe food. Some of the common related diseases include; cholera, dysentery, typhoid and intestinal worms.

WHO aims to promote food safety globally to minimize health risks from the farm to the table. WHO thus published 10 crucial facts about food safety in the world.

More than 200 diseases spread through food. Millions of people fall ill every year and many die as a result of eating unsafe food. Diarrhoeal diseases alone kill an estimated 1.8 million children annually, and most of these illnesses are attributed to contaminated food or water.

Food borne diseases are increasing worldwide. Rapid urbanization is adding to risks, as urban dwellers eat more food prepared outside the home that may not be handled or prepared safely. Risky foods include; fish, beef and poultry meat.

Food safety is a global concern. Imported food products and ingredients are common in most countries. Stronger food safety systems in export countries can reinforce both local and cross-border health security.

There is risk of emerging diseases. About 75% of the new infectious diseases affecting humans over the past 10 years were caused by bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that started in animals and animal products. Many of these diseases in people are related to the handling of infected domestic and wild animals during food production - in food markets and at slaughter houses.

Minimise the risk of Avian Influenza. The majority of H5N1 avian influenza cases in people follow direct contact with infected live or dead birds. There is no evidence that the disease is spread to people by eating properly cooked poultry. To avoid risk of food borne illnesses in poultry; separate raw meat from other foods, keep clean, wash your hands, cook thoroughly until the meat is more than 60 °C in all parts, with no pink areas.

Preventing disease starts at the farm. Preventing disease in humans starts at the farm and therefore stopping animal infections at the farm level can reduce food borne illnesses. For example, reducing the amount of Salmonella bacteria in farm chickens by 50% (through better farm management) results in 50% less people getting sick from the bacteria.

Chemical hazards can arise from cooking. Acryl amide, which may cause cancer, is formed from natural ingredients during the cooking of some foods at high temperatures (generally above 120 °C), including fried potato products, baked cereal products and coffee. Avoid overcooking when frying, grilling or baking food.

Everyone has a role to play in food safety. People along the food delivery chain like farmers, processors, vendors and consumers must ensure food safety. Safety at home is just as vital in this fight. Women are the primary targets for food safety education as they do prepare household meals in many societies.

School is a place for food safety too. Educating children on safe food handling behaviours is key to preventing food borne diseases today and in the future. Integrating food safety lessons into school curricula gives children essential life skills that can help to keep them and their families healthy.

The five keys to eating safe food. Adhering to the Five (5) keys to food safety is a key to survival. Keeping clean, separating raw from cooked food, cooking food thoroughly, keeping food at safe temperatures and the use of safe water are very important..

Haccp Food Safety

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