The first-ever World Food Safety is being observed today (June 7) worldwide by the United Nations General Assembly to spread awareness about food safety and to reduce the cases of foodborne diseases. The theme this year is “Food Safety, everyone’s business”. According to the UN, ‘access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. …With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne diseases annually – almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated – food safety is an increasing threat to human health. Children under 5 years of age carry 40 per cent of the foodborne disease burden with 125 000 deaths every year.’ The UN clearly notes that ‘everybody has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and will not cause damages to our health.’

It is clear from the UN’s statement that food safety is everybody’s responsibility. As a consumer of foods and food products, it is very important that you keep in mind a few important things with regards to food safety. If not, you could suffer from some life-threatening foodborne diseases.

There are mainly 3 types of microorganisms. There are good ones which are used to make curds and cheeses etc. Some others are bad which are responsible for the bad taste and foul stench that foods sometimes get. However, these do not cause diseases. Then there are the other dangerous microorganisms –pathogenic microorganisms– that are deceitful: they don’t really cause changes the way the food looks or smells Pathogenic microorganisms are responsible for a number of deadly and dangerous conditions like stomach pains, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and even death. These are invisible, tiny beings that are highly prolific and can take the help of food water, time and warmth to multiply quickly. However, these are preventable. Here are 5 simple rules you must follow to prevent these:

  1. Keep clean to prevent contamination. Wash your hands and the foods thoroughly before eating and cooking with them.
  2. Separate raw and cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  3. Cook thoroughly to kill microorganisms.
  4. Keep food at safe temperatures– either hot or cold to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  5. Use safe water and safe raw materials to avoid contamination.