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Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected

Posted by Dr. José Emilio Esteban, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, and Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Codex Program in Health and Safety Trade
Jun 06, 2024
USDA FSIS microbiologist Monifa Peterson demonstrates the addition of reagents for the E. coli non-O157:H7 analysis at the USDA FSIS laboratory

World Food Safety Day is June 7 and USDA is committed to doing our part to collaborate with federal and state partners and engage in vital conversations with food safety experts, consumer organizations, industry, and academia to ensure safe food for all.

Food safety incidents, no matter how mild or severe, pose threats to both public health and commerce. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) relies on the latest science and data to strengthen its systems to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats associated with meat, poultry, and egg products. The agency carries out its mission through daily inspection activities, analyzing product samples for harmful bacteria and contaminants, collaborating with partners to identify sources of outbreaks, and overseeing food recalls. FSIS also advises consumers on safe food handling through its Meat and Poultry Hotline.

For governments worldwide, developing and updating food safety emergency response plans, strengthening food controls systems, increasing surveillance and coordination capacities, and improving communication with food businesses and the public is paramount to safe food. The U.S. Codex Office works with other countries to draft international food standards, guidelines, and codes of practice utilizing the latest science to protect consumer health and promote fair trade practices. The Foreign Agricultural Service also works with governments to build food safety regulatory capacities in a way that increases access to safe and nutritious foods through trade.

On this World Food Safety Day, we encourage continued cooperation among all stakeholders in national, regional, and global food value chains to help minimize the public health impacts of unsafe food. We applaud the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to highlight food safety as an important global development and public health issue. There is always more work to do, together.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety Trade