A recent study by the World Health Organisation states that nearly 1 in 10 individuals fall sick from food-borne illnesses because of poor food safety, while 4,20,000 patients die due to food-borne diseases every year. Many people, particularly pregnant women and the elderly, are at a higher risk of getting sick. Food-borne diseases are increasing worldwide, particularly in the developing countries, due to the neglect of personal and food hygiene.
On the occasion of the first-ever World Food Safety Day, an initiative by The United Nations, Rohit Shelatkar, vice president, Vitabiotics Ltd highlights the importance of safe food and why food safety should be everyone’s business.
At an individual level too one can pledge to create a safe environment for his or her family by conducting a few regular checks:
*Always check food items thoroughly. Whether you are buying packaged food or vegetables or fruits, ensure that the items are fresh and in good health. Carefully read through the details about their manufacturing and expiry dates before buying.
*Store food correctly and at the right temperature. Raw meat and poultry should be kept separate from other foods, especially vegetables, prepared sauces, and anything else that requires a bit of preparation. Also, make sure you clean and sanitise preparation surfaces and equipment regularly.
*Wash all fresh produce, even pre-packaged greens, to minimise potential bacterial contamination.
*Be aware and cautious with certain groups of people like children, pregnant women, and the elderly, as they require special precautions, which should be taken into account when cooking for them.
The way in which food is produced, stored, handled, and consumed affects the safety of our food. Complying with global food standards, establishing effective regulatory food control systems, and providing access to clean water, are some ways by which the Government can ensure food safety in India.