Proper nutrition is one of the fundamental pillars of good health. However, this pillar can only fulfil its rightful role when it reaches the consumer in the right manner. If nutrition fails to reach the consumer properly, it can even become a determinant of health. But the one thing that can ensure that nutrition will not be a determining factor is nothing but food safety.
Every year, on June 7th, a day is dedicated to honouring the efforts of 188 countries and one organization (the European Union) that tirelessly work to ensure that food is unquestionably free from any hazards and safe for consumption. This day is named World Food Safety Day, recognizing the ongoing commitment and activities undertaken to guarantee the safety of our food.
In short codex, or Codex Alimentarius Commission, is the international food safety and quality standard-setting body, where this assurance and peace of mind come to fruition.
From the moment you feel about eating something, starting with the first step of washing your hands and ensuring the cleanliness of utensils, you are unknowingly fulfilling your role to ensure that you eliminate all possibilities that could jeopardize your health. However, when it comes time to use the purchased food items, you don’t hesitate for a moment. Without anyone prompting you, you have the reassurance of a monitoring system meticulously examining all the details to ensure that no factors related to the food endanger your well-being. Behind the scenes, a trust-based relationship is at play, establishing the framework of food safety.
The International Union of Nutritional Science (IUNS) has a long-standing relationship with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
No longer after FAO was founded in 1945, the first joint meeting between FAO and WHO in the field of nutrition, food additives and related areas took place in 1950. IUNS was subsequently granted expert ‘ Specialized Consultative Status ‘in relation to the work of FAO and other organisations such as CIOMS, IICD and UNESCO.
In the cycle of food security, your role in implementing food security is determined by where you stand in this cycle. As an individual working in a government organization or someone actively involved in the food business, whether it be in the food industry, restaurants, or supermarkets, it doesn’t matter. In any case, you have an influential role in implementing food security in the community because food safety is everyone’s business.
Teaching about basic food safety is an issue that needs to be addressed from a young age in schools and continued through adulthood. It is important to provide education and awareness on this subject so that individuals, as they grow older, are familiar with it and can assess whether food safety practices are being followed in their work environments or not. As food safety is an essential factor in any workplace. And we all need food that is safe, and Food Safety Day is an opportunity to learn how to buy, store, cook and eat while we are sure that food stays safe.
One of the main activities of the IUNS is to study and investigate the current challenges of nutrition on a global scale through task forces. These task forces, supported by the IUNS, align with the goals set by the World Health Organization, which are also based on the fundamental principles of food security.
The IUNS invites all those who prioritise their own health and the health of others as stakeholders aligned with the goals and objectives of the World Health Organization. It encourages them to utilize the tools provided by Codex to take even small steps towards improving food security. The hope is to witness a decrease in the current alarming statistics, which indicate that 1 in every 10 individuals worldwide falls ill due to the consumption of unhealthy food. This is concerning considering there are over 200 different diseases threatening global health, with contaminated food being responsible for approximately 5 million annual deaths worldwide due to infections, a significant portion of which can be attributed to contaminated food.