No matter the language, World Food Safety Day aims to inspire action across the globe to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks.
Every year, 600 million people worldwide get sick from foodborne illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2010, 420,000 people died due to such diseases as salmonella and E.coli infection, a third of them children under five years of age. WHO estimated that 33 million years of healthy lives are lost due to eating unsafe food globally each year, and this number is likely an underestimation.
To lower these numbers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other public health agencies act on a domestic and global level to ensure your next meal is safe.
Global Food Safety Standards
Established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius, or “Food Code,” is the preeminent international food standards-setting body that protects the health of consumers and promotes fair practices in food trade through science-based voluntary international standards, guidelines, and codes of practice. The U.S. Codex Office engages stakeholders in the development and advancement of science-based food standards for the benefit of the United States and worldwide community. Learn more about the U.S. Codex Program.
Ensuring U.S. Food Safety
To combat foodborne illness, our nation relies on the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- FSIS is responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
- FDA assures that foods (except those regulated by FSIS) are safe, wholesome, sanitary, and properly labeled.
- CDC gathers data on foodborne illnesses, investigates foodborne illnesses and outbreaks, and monitors the effectiveness of prevention and control efforts in reducing foodborne illnesses. FSIS and FDA work closely with CDC on foodborne illness outbreaks.
Safety Starts with You
Codex, FSIS, FDA, and CDC together work to keep the food supply safe and reduce foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. But you play an important role in food safety, too! Keep your family safe by following the four basic steps of clean, separate, cook, and chill when handling food.
For information about food safety, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Tell them you read this blog and we’ll send you a free food thermometer.