The 40th session of an FAO Conference adopted a draft resolution last month with a view to having the General Assembly of the United Nations consider, at is next session in September to declare 7 June as World Food Safety Day.
“World Food Safety Day will raise awareness of the global threat posed by foodborne diseases and reinforce the need for governments, the food industry and individuals to do more to make food safe and prevent these diseases,” said Ren Wang, director FAO department of agriculture and consumer protection.
The Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission made the proposal to create such a day on a permanent basis at its 39th Session in Rome in 2016.
Food safety was the theme of World Health Day in April 2015.
Awilo Ochieng Pernet, chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, said it would enhance consumer health protection and lead to a reduction in foodborne diseases.
"The World Food Safety Day will contribute to raising awareness about the importance of food safety among all relevant stakeholders including the public and private sectors and all actors in the food chain, from primary producers to consumers.”
Costa Rica, one of the original sponsors of the proposal, stressed the ‘significant threat’ to health worldwide and obstacles to socio-economic development posed by foodborne disease.
Argentina, speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), said those suffering most from hunger and malnutrition often consume contaminated and adulterated food and that as complexity of the chain increases so will public concern on food safety.
Estonia, speaking on behalf of the 28 EU Member States, highlighted the importance of standards for consumer health and ensuring fair practices in food trade.
Once the FAO Conference report is adopted, discussions will take place with WHO for a similar resolution to be passed by its governing body. Should that be successful the proposal will go to the United Nations General Assembly.