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World Food Safety Day 2020

June 7, 2020

Author: Marissa Lustri, RD, MPH, Program Assistant at Nutrition Connections.

Today, June 7, 2020 marks World Food Safety Day.

At Nutrition Connections our team strives to accelerate knowledge and advance practice in nutrition. One way we feel this can be done is emphasizing why World Food Safety Day is important and providing our audience with tangible resources and expert advice.

In order to learn more, we connected with food safety expert Jeffrey Farber. He’s a professor of food science at the University of Guelph and past director of the Bureau of Microbial Hazards at Health Canada.

World Food Safety Day is important to celebrate because it “draws attention and increases awareness that we need to manage foodborne risks such as foodborne illness, as well as deal with important issues such as food insecurity and food sustainability,” according to Farber.

Food safety is important for everyone. We are all consumers, therefore we need to understand that “we all have a role to play,” said Farber. Food safety is the “shared responsibility between the government, food producers and consumers.” Shining a light on World Food Safety Day shows that it is a “serious and global” matter.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic due to COVID-19 and food safety has been highlighted in the media over the past few months. I have come across many articles reporting food safety tips when grocery shopping and what to do once you bring your groceries home.

I asked Dr. Farber to explain what we should be doing to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. He advised that during this time it is very important to follow the guidance of our public health officials.

“Follow physical distancing precautions, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching anything that you don’t plan on purchasing,” when at the store.

When you get home, “wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, as well as before and after you handle any food or food packaging.”

“Transmission by food or food packaging is unlikely,” according to Farber, but it is still vital to follow the guidance of public health officials to decrease your risk of contracting the virus.

I asked Dr. Farber what Canadians can do to increase the awareness around the importance of food safety. He advised that it’s important to “teach your children about food safety; the addition of food safety to the school curriculum and begin teaching it at an early age; and continually educate employees in the food service industry on its importance.”

“There also may be an increase in foodborne illnesses in the future due to climate change and an increasing susceptible population,” according to Farber, so we should take the time now to increase our knowledge and understanding of food safety.

To learn more, visit these resources:

Government of Canada: Public Education Resources for Health Professionals and Other Stakeholders

World Health Organization: World Food Safety Day 2020 Campaign

Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and Food Safety

Government of Canada: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Centres for Disease Control & Prevention: Food Safety

U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Food

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Food Safety and Quality

European Food Safety Authority

United Kingdom Government: Food Standards Agency


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