Ms. Deepti Khatuja, Head – Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis memorial Research Institute,Gurgaon
Food Safety: A Fundamental Human Right Ensuring Global Health and Well-being
Microbiological Safety – A Key Concern for Foodborne Illness
Food safety remains a pressing issue as billions of people worldwide face the risk of consuming unsafe food. Among the major challenges, microbiological safety stands out as a primary concern. Food has the potential to harbor harmful microorganisms, leading to foodborne illnesses. While viruses are the main culprits for most foodborne diseases, bacterial agents are responsible for severe cases requiring hospitalization and even causing deaths.
Chemical Safety – A Looming Threat to Public Health
Another critical aspect of food safety is chemical safety. Non-food grade additives, such as colorants and preservatives, as well as contaminants, have been found in various food products, including alarmingly high levels of heavy metals. These chemical substances pose severe health risks and may lead to various illnesses when consumed over time.
Personal Hygiene – An Essential Factor in Food Safety
Poor personal hygiene practices among food handlers and preparers significantly increase the risk of food contamination. Ensuring proper hygiene during food preparation and handling is crucial in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses, safeguarding both personal and public health.
Environmental Hygiene – A Barrier to Safe Food Storage
Accumulation of spoiled and contaminated food can lead to increased pest and insect populations, creating a higher risk of food contamination and spoilage. Poor sanitary conditions at food storage and handling areas further compound the problem, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a clean and safe environment.
Food Adulteration – A Silent Killer
Food adulteration poses significant threats to human health and safety. Whether motivated by economic fraud or malicious tampering, adulterants found in various food items can cause serious health issues, ranging from abdominal pain and nausea to cancer, respiratory distress, paralysis, and brain damage.
Promoting Optimal Health through Nutritious and Safe Foods
To ensure optimal human health, diets must consist of foods that are both nutritious and safe. This approach enables people to meet their nutrient requirements without exposing themselves to foodborne illnesses, striking a crucial balance for overall well-being.
Collaboration for a Safer Food Supply Chain
Given that food supply chains cross multiple national and regional borders, collaboration between governments, producers, suppliers, distributors, and consumers is vital in ensuring food safety in the 21st century. An efficient and effective food system that focuses on improved access to nutrient-dense foods while enhancing their safety will pave the way for a healthier global population.