The World Health Organisation has been celebrating World Health Day since 1950, each year selecting a different theme to raise awareness around a particular issue of public concern. This year we’re talking about Food Safety, with five key messages that every individual should know to help prevent foodborne diseases worldwide:
Keep clean – regularly washing your hands, sanitizing equipment and surfaces, as well as protecting your kitchen from pests and animals to keep potentially dangerous microorganisms at bay.
Separate raw and cooked food – especially meat, poultry and seafood! Use different sets of equipment and storage containers before and after the preparation and cooking of different foods to prevent the cross-contamination of germs.
Cook thoroughly – proper cooking removes almost all the dangerous microorganisms in food. By using a thermometer to check that food has reached the ideal 70°C, you can help ensure that it is safe for consumption.
Keep food at safe temperatures – microorganisms can multiply quickly when they’re left to fester at room temperature. Storing food below 5°C or holding it at above 60°C slows down the growth of dangerous microorganisms.
Use safe water and raw materials – contaminated ice and water can carry dangerous microorganisms and chemicals that prove harmful to our health. Being mindful of expiry dates, washing or peeling food and checking for signs of mould are simple ways to stay safe.
As the food industry becomes increasingly globalised, the need to strengthen food safety systems – from farm to plate – in and between countries is growing. Today is about raising awareness and empowering individuals, to play their part in ensuring that the food on our plates is safe to eat.
In terms of PR, World Health Day is a great opportunity for food handlers and service providers to show their commitment to #SafeFood and perhaps offer us a sneak peek behind-the-scenes at their own H&S practices in action. It also serves as a reminder of the kind of PR disaster you could have on your hands if standards slip. E. coli anyone?