The United Nations proclaimed June 7 as World Food Safety Day. Through this annual observance the UN aims to ‘promote awareness and inspire actions’ for safer food. This aligns squarely with our mission here at GMP+ International.
Johan den Hartog
Managing Director, GMP+ International
Every year, 600 million people around the world suffer from foodborne illnesses, which lead the UN to call unsafe food ‘a threat to human health and economies globally’. If we don’t have safe food, we cannot have food security either – even though the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has defined access to food as a ‘fundamental human right’. So in order to fulfill the world’s obligation to feed every human being, we must ensure that all food is safe.
For food of animal origin, this starts with the production of safe animal feed. In 2008, dioxin contaminations in pork surfaced in Chili and Ireland, which resulted in international recalls and import bans. In 2013, several countries in the Balkan region had to deal with aflatoxin contamination of milk.
The feed and food sector is an international market unlike any other. Feed materials can be produced in Brazil, transported to Thailand, used there for the production of mixed feed, and then eaten by chickens or cattle. The output – meat, eggs and dairy – may be consumed by people in Japan, South Korea or the United Kingdom. Therefore, I believe it is extremely important to underline the importance of safe food in that same international context. World Food Safety Day does exactly that.
The UN proclamation proves that food and feed safety awareness around the globe is on the rise. But more importantly, my hope is that it will also lead to more action from governments in the form of laws and regulations, and increased recognition from the food industry and retail sector that we cannot have safe food without having safe feed first.
Happy World Food Safety Day, everyone!