Let’s heed WHO’s advice

Thursday, April 09, 2015
We have been advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that when buying food products, we read and understand properly everything concerning the quality and usefulness of the products.

We feel this is especially important for us the people to strictly observe, as it would be to our own good and benefit if we heed the advice, and to our disadvantage and detriment if we do not.

We are sure no one wants to endanger his or her life, hence would like to take all necessary precautions to avoid being harmed by any food products used incorrectly or by food poisoning.

“Food safety is a crosscutting issue and shared responsibility that requires participation of non-public health sectors such as agriculture, trade and commerce, environment, tourism and support from major international and regional agencies and organizations active in the fields of food, emergency aid and education,” the National Programme officer of the World Health Organisation has said, in celebration of World Health Day on 7 April this year, under the theme: “From farm to plate, make food safe”.

“Everyone has a role to play in making food safe,” the WHO urges all, and that food handlers and consumers should be familiar with common food hazards, and handle and prepare food safely.

This is enough advice for us to heed, because unsafe food could contain harmful bacteria, parasites or chemical substances that can cause more than 200 diseases, including diarrhoea and cancers.

As stated by the WHO, consumers need to take care to avoid consuming unsafe food by reading product labels when buying food, and learning how to cook specific foods that may be hazardous, such as raw chicken.

Another point to take home is the fact that this year’s World Health Day theme highlights the urgent need for governments, food businesses and consumers to put measures in place that would improve food safety from the point of production to consumption.

Consumers play important roles in promoting food safety through practising safe food hygiene, learning how to cook specific foods and reading labels when buying and preparing foods.

The WHO has also issued five keys to safer food which explain the basic principles that each individual all over the world should know to prevent foodborne diseases caused by unsafe food.

The five keys to safer food recommended by the WHO are: to keep food clean; separate raw and cooked food; cook food thoroughly; keep food at safe temperatures; and use safe water and raw materials when cooking food.

It is advisable that these keys are observed by all and sundry to protect ourselves from consuming unsafe foods, which include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

“To be forewarned is to be forearmed .”

The Point