Every year the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) arranges a World Environmental Health day to focus attention on key areas. This year their chosen theme is Global Food Safety and Sustainability.

Reducing food borne illness

Illnesses that result from ingesting food contaminated by microorganisms or chemicals are of significant concern and continue to present a challenge due to factors such as changing methods of food production and distribution and the resistance of pathogens (illness causing microorganisms).

The World Health Organisation presents some powerful statistics regarding food borne illnesses, highlighting why efforts to improve food safety standards should continue. The figures for 2010 are as follows:

  • approximately 600 million people (nearly 1 in 10) fell ill after consuming contaminated food
  • these illnesses resulted in 420,000 deaths
  • nearly 40% of those who fell ill were under 5, accounting for 125,000 deaths.

Reducing food waste

In addition to reducing the number of food borne illness cases, the IFEH want to tackle the waste of  about 1/3 of the total food produced worldwide for global consumption – this equates to an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes per year!

Initiatives include improving awareness from producers to consumers and considering how wasted food could be used.

For further information regarding the World Environmental Health day, visit the IFEH’s page.