- Globally, millions of people fall ill every year and many die as a result of eating unsafe food.
- Foodborne disease and food contamination constitute a growing public health concern. WHO estimates that globally foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases cause the deaths of about 2.2 million people annually, 1.9 million of them are children. In addition, chemical contamination causes a significant amount of foodborne disease
- Food safety is a shared responsibility from farm to table. Ensuring the safety of food depends on the efforts of everyone involved in the food chain continuum, from production, processing, transport to consumption.
- The 5 keys for safer food are: Good hygiene; Separate raw and cooked; Cook all foods thoroughly; Keep food at a safe temperature; Use safe water and trusted raw materials.
Food Safety Situation in China
- In China food safety is a highly topical issue with significant public health, economic and social implications.
- Food safety is one of the main concerns of the Chinese people, as indicated by multiple recent surveys, after a series of food safety scandals were reported by media. The Government continues to strengthen national food control systems to effectively protect public health, prevent fraud, avoid food adulteration, and facilitate safe and healthy food.
- Since 2001, a series of reforms have been conducted to strengthen food safety management in China. This work culminated with the adoption of a new modern and comprehensive national Food Safety Law in 2009.
- Passing the Food Safety Law and establishing the State Council Food Safety Commission are important milestones for improving China's food safety control systems.
- China has now a modern food safety law including a standard setting body and a risk assessment expert body as well as a high level State Council Food Safety Commission to supervise and coordinate food safety matters.
- More recently the Government has included food safety in its 12th Five-Year Plan for Social and Economic Development. Many relevant policies and plans are developed on national standards, regulatory inspection system, food industry development, food safety emergency response, and education.
- China National Food Safety Risk Assessment Centre was established in 2011. It plays an active role in helping authorities make decisions regarding food safety in a scientific manner.
- In 2000 World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to recognize food safety as an essential public health function.
- In 2010 World Health Assembly adopted a new resolution on food safety: Advancing food safety initiatives (WHA63.3). The resolution urges Member States:
To further develop:
- Surveillance for foodborne disease and food contamination; including strengthened labs capacity;
- risk assessment and risk management, including the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system, and risk communication;
- food safety emergency response; product tracing and recall;
- to participate fully in INFOSAN activities
- to enhance the integration of food-safety in food aid, food security and nutrition
- to continue to develop and maintain a sustainable systems approach to food safety encompassing the complete food-production chain from farm to consumption, including education;
- to promote dialogue and collaboration among human health, veterinary and food-related disciplines for foodborne risk reduction along the whole food-production chain; and
- to participate actively in the CAC standard-setting process and adopt Codex standards whenever appropriate.
- In 2011 Regional Committee Meeting, health representatives from countries in the Western Pacific Region endorsed the Western Pacific Regional Food Safety Strategy 2011-2015. Member States and countries were urged to use the strategy as a framework for strengthening the national food control systems to effectively protect public health, prevent fraud, avoid food adulteration and facilitate safe and healthy food.
- The strategy also defines the work of the food safety programme in the WHO Western Pacific Region for the next five years.
- The strategy is made up of seven (7) themes:
- Improved food control and coordination throughout the food chain continuum and adequate funding;
- Risk-based regulatory frameworks;
- Improved availability of food safety data to better guide policy and risk analysis;
- Inspection services;
- Food safety training and education;
- Capacity to detect, assess and manage food safety incidents and emergencies; and
- Enhanced cooperative planning.
- For more than a decade, WHO China office has worked with key partners to provide technical support on a wide range of food safety activities, including contributing to China's food safety legislative and institutional reform.