Foodborne illness impacts every community around the world, and preventing these illnesses is essential to global health. On this World Food Safety Day, the United Nations aims to spread the message that food standards save lives.
According to the World Health Organization, 1.6 million people around the world get sick from unsafe food every day. In that same 24 hours, 340 children below the age of five will die due to a preventable foodborne disease. Children in this age range make up 9% of the world’s population, yet disproportionally account for 40% of foodborne illnesses.
This June 7, World Food Safety Day highlights the importance of food standards to prevent foodborne illness. Food safety standards are established at every stage of the food production process and apply worldwide. Standards provide direction for the control of pathogens and contaminants as well as safe food handling practices to those growing, processing, packaging, distributing, and preparing your food. These standards help ensure the food we are eating and serving our loved ones is safe and nutritious.
We all have a role in keeping our food safe. You can help further prevent the spread of foodborne illness by following the Four Steps to Food Safety.
- Clean: Wash and sanitize hands, utensils, and surfaces often. Bacteria can spread and survive in many places.
- Separate: Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread bacteria to ready-to-eat foods. Keep them separate by using different cutting boards and utensils.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to check whether a meal has reached a safe internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.
- Chill: Refrigerate perishable food within two hours. Plan to use or freeze your leftovers within four days. When reheating leftovers, heat to 165 F.
For more information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or email MPHotline@usda.gov to reach a food safety specialist or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.