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Food safety celebration to raise public awareness

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A woman dishing up food buffet-style at Kandal market in February. Heng Chivoan

Food safety celebration to raise public awareness

Ministries and international organisations are set to hold a belated joint celebration for World Food Safety Day (WFSD) in the capital on June 30 to promote public awareness of food safety, and highlight the need to prioritise it at each link of the food chain, from farm to dining table.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN agency, noted in a June 22 press statement that this year’s theme for WFSD, which is observed on June 7, is “Safer food, better health”.

The celebration will be organised by three UN agencies – FAO, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) – in partnership with the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), the agriculture, health and commerce ministries, and other government institutions.

The event is expected to bring together around 250 people from every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.

“This year, the WFSD celebration in Cambodia will signify the need to strengthen efforts to ensure that food is safe to eat, mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce food borne diseases, while facilitating Cambodia’s trade opportunities,” the statement said.

Globally, one in 10 people are affected by foodborne diseases annually. Unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, affecting poor and vulnerable people, including infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic conditions. Foodborne illness is responsible for 420,000 preventable deaths every year.

Cambodia has made significant strides in furthering food safety. In its latest sign of commitment to the cause, the Kingdom rolled out the Law on Food Safety, which was promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni on June 8.

The law sets out a framework and mechanisms for managing and ensuring food standards concerning the safety, quality, hygiene and legitimacy of materials, procedures and technologies involved in the production chain, to minimise risks for consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the industry.

Speaking at a June 22 workshop on food system management, CARD secretary-general Sok Silo described food safety as a “pillar” of sustainable development.

“National food-control systems are a major determinant of public health, and a pleasing feature conducive to business and tourism, as well as foreign investment. Safe foods are vital for our health and wellbeing,” he said.

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