Happy World Food Safety Day to all. Yes, The United Nations and World Health Organization have decided to observe World Food Safety Day on 7th June every year, starting from 2019. Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems and harming national economies, tourism, and trade. 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% of the foodborne disease burden with 125000 deaths every year. The theme for this year is “Food safety, everyone’s business”.
The food industry in Belagavi is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, it is said that Belagavi is the second city in the state after Bangaluru where the food industry is growing at such a faster phase. As per the theme set for this year, it is everyone’s duty to ensure safe food right from the farms to the dinner table. The equal role has to be played by the government, the producers and the consumers.
What Belagavi desperately needs at the moment is a dedicated Food Quality and Hygiene Inspection department by the City Corporation, especially for the street food sector. Goa has banned the use of steel plates by street food vendors due to improper washing and contamination of water and surroundings during washing. Steel plates have been replaced by use and throw paper plates. Ahmedabad has banned the vendors from keeping any lose water for drinking. The customers can purchase 200ml water pouches for a nominal amount from the vendors. Such good policies can be adopted from different cities by the CCB. Regular food quality and hygiene inspections have to be carried out by the body.
Coming to the producers; the restaurants, hotels, canteens and street food vendors should ensure the use of quality ingredients while preparing the food, maintain hygiene at the premises especially in the stores and in the kitchen areas and most importantly serve good quality potable drinking water to consumers. The water used for preparing food is very important and good quality water should be used.
Finally, we as consumers have an equal share of responsibility. Do not eat at places which are very near to dustbins or garbage areas. In fact, many outlets in Belagavi are set right on top of the gutters. If you see any unhygienic practice being followed by the outlet, bring it to his notice immediately. For example, we observed a street food vendor disposing the used plates in a plastic tub right under the tap and people were washing hands in the same tub. We asked him to keep a separate tub for used plates and he followed it immediately.
World Food Safety Day is a very good initiative by the WHO and the UN. By ensuring food safety many foodborne diseases can be prevented. As the tagline of this year’s celebration says “Food Safety, everyone’s business” let us all promote food safety, be it the food that we cook or the food that we eat.