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World Food Safety Day 2024

June 6, 2024


Since we all have to eat to survive, ensuring that the products we consume are safe should be a global priority. As I noted in a previous article, if products aren’t safe, they shouldn’t be called food.[1] To bring attention to this important topic, World Food Safety Day is organized jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is celebrated on 7 June each year. The theme of World Food Safety Day 2024 is “Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected.” The WHO staff notes, “This year’s theme underlines the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents, no matter how mild or severe they can be. Food safety incidents are situations where there is a potential or confirmed health risk associated with food consumption. A food incident can happen, for example, due to accidents, inadequate controls, food fraud, or natural events. While being ready to manage food safety incidents requires dedicated efforts from policymakers, food safety authorities, farmers, and food business operators, consumers also can play an active role.”[2]


The staff at worldfoodsafetyday.com notes, “Food safety saves lives. It is a crucial component of food security and plays a vital role in reducing foodborne diseases. Each year, approximately 600 million people fall ill due to around 200 different types of foodborne illnesses. The burden of these illnesses falls most heavily on the poor and the young. Furthermore, foodborne illnesses are responsible for 420,000 preventable deaths annually.”[3] This year’s theme is further explained in the following video.



One of the most important actions governments can take is to adopt stringent food standards. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) frankly states, “Food standards save lives.”[4] They explain, “[Last year’s celebration marked] the 60th anniversary of Codex Alimentarius, a collection of food standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the international Codex Alimentarius Commission (with which FDA participates across many committees) to encourage governments and food safety advocates around the world to focus on the importance of applying safety standards in every aspect of food production — from the source to the table. FDA scientists actively participate in the Codex Alimentarius committees and FDA also considers Codex standards when developing our U.S. national food safety standards.” As the FDA stresses, standards are important all along the supply chain. The staff at National Day explains, “Before our food gets to our stores, restaurants, and even our mouths, they go through a long chain of distribution managed by people who handle processes like harvesting, processing, storing, distribution and preparation. This is why this holiday is important because in the long chain of food consumption there are several possibilities of food contamination. … Food safety is, therefore, a very important concept as it seeks to ensure our food is handled with utmost care before getting to us.”[5] As consumers, we pick up the burden of ensuring food safety once we buy it and take it home. The following video lays out five simple things we can do to help keep food safe once we get it home.



Beyond handling food in a safe manner, the staff at Holidays Calendar offer a few suggestions for getting involved in World Food Safety Day activities. They write, “The best way for this holiday to be observed is by everyone spreading the news about food safety. This means talking about this subject with friends and family members, and with people across the Internet using the hashtag #WorldFoodSafetyDay. People should also educate themselves on this subject and learn everything they can do to ensure that the food they eat remains safe in their cupboards and refrigerators and freezers, all the way through the cooking process and up until they eat it. Of course, World Food Safety Day is also a day when organizations in the food manufacturing and production business should make sure that the food supply is safe. There’s a role for everyone in this process to ensure that foodborne illnesses are kept to a minimum. This includes not only the consumer but also the people growing and processing the foods, and the organizations that regulate this process.”[6] Although it should be obvious, writer Priti Palit explains why World Food Safety Day is important. She writes:


1. It’s a Cause for Us All. Food safety is something we all need to care about. World Food Safety Day reminds us that we share a common goal in keeping our food safe.


2. It Helps Protect Our Food. When more people know about food safety, we can take better actions to keep our food safe. This day raises awareness, encouraging us to put processes in place to protect our food.


3. It Keeps Us Healthy. Eating healthy food leads to a healthy life. World Food Safety Day makes us pay extra attention to the safety measures used in getting our food to us, which means better and healthier food for everyone.


“In summary,” Palit writes, “World Food Safety Day is a reminder that we all play a part in making sure our food is safe. By understanding the history, challenges, and importance of this day, we can work together to create a safer and healthier global food system.” I think it’s safe to say that the global food value chain is world’s most important supply chain. As explained above, everybody plays a role in ensuring the food we eat is safe and healthy. World Food Safety Day is both a reminder of how important the global food value chain is and why we should be grateful for all the individuals — from farm to fork — who labor to make that supply chain safe.


[1] Stephen DeAngelis, “Food is Not Food if It’s Unsafe,” Enterra Insights, 16 November 2023.
[2] Staff, “World Food Safety Day,” World Health Organization.
[3] Staff., “World Food Safety Day,” worldfoodsafetyday.com,
[4] Staff, “World Food Safety Day,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
[5] Staff, “World Food Safety Day – June 7, 2024,” National Today.
[6] Staff, “World Food Safety Day,” Holidays Calendar.
[7] Priti Palit, “World Food Safety Day 2024, History, Significance & Its Importance,” Olive Board, 12 January 2024.

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