World Health Day: “How safe is your food?”

Food safety is the topical theme of this year’s World Health Day on 7 April. The day marks the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948.

By choosing food safety as its main theme, the WHO raises awareness of a public health issue of global relevance and invites food producers, policy-makers and the public to promote food safety.

Food safety is at the heart of the work of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Its mission is to protect the 500 million European consumers and ensure that their food is safe.

The Authority provides impartial scientific advice on potential risks to food safety along the entire food chain. This includes: plant protection; animal health and welfare; the impact of the food chain on the environment; transportation and storage of food; food production and innovation; and health claims. EFSA’s scientific advice is used by European decision makers, national authorities, academia, consumer organisations and the public at large.

Global partnership

A global issue such as food safety requires worldwide cooperation. Joining forces helps make efficient use of resources, avoid duplication of efforts and share workload among partners. “Our role is to ensure food safety for 500 million European consumers and we can only do that in partnership with other organisations. By pooling these resources we can make sure that food in Europe is safe,” says Bernhard Url, EFSA’s Executive Director.

EFSA and WHO: joint efforts

The WHO and EFSA are long-standing partners in tackling existing and newly emerging threats to food safety. Recently, EFSA and WHO worked together to assess the risk of Ebola transmission through food and found no evidence for this. EFSA and WHO work together on other issues as well, such as the collection of data on contaminants in food; the development of new methods to identify such contaminants; and the scientific assessment of food-borne zoonotic diseases.

EFSA on World Health Day

To mark World Health Day, EFSA is participating in workshops on food safety organised by the WHO office in Albania and by the Portuguese National Health Institute in Lisbon. Also, three EFSA scientists specialised in biological hazards, nutrition and genetically modified organisms are taking part in a WHO twitter chat on 7 April from 14:00 to 15:00 CET. Please tweet your questions to @EFSA_EU using the hashtag #safefoodchat.

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