Food Safety is Our Business: Feed the Future Commemorates World Food Safety Day
This post was written by Kelley Cormier, Division Chief, Division for Food Safety, USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security.
June 7 marks the second annual World Food Safety Day - this year with a theme of “Food Safety is Everyone’s Business.” The theme is apropos because access to safe food saves lives. Did you know that every year, an estimated 1 in 10 people worldwide become ill from consuming unsafe food? And that of the 420,000 annual deaths from unsafe food, 30 percent are children under five, an age group that is particularly vulnerable to the vicious cycles of diarrhea and malnutrition due to foodborne illnesses.
Access to safe food underpins development outcomes across multiple sectors, contributing to economic growth, nutrition, food security and resilience. And in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when supply chains are disrupted and consumers’ diets are becoming less diverse, food safety has become an even more urgent challenge. Ensuring safer food in low and middle-income countries would save an estimated $110 billion annually in reduced health care costs and increased productivity while critically protecting the nutritional status of the world’s most vulnerable. By working closely with partner countries to strengthen regulations at the national and regional levels, generate action-oriented evidence, and engage private sector partners and consumers, Feed the Future is helping food systems better provide safe, healthy and nutritious food for all.
To commemorate World Food Safety Day, this week on Agrilinks, we will be sharing a series of blog posts and resources from our food safety partners, featuring examples from the field and actionable recommendations for the development community. Please bookmark this post and follow @Agrilinks and @FeedtheFuture on Twitter to see the latest. If you would like to submit a post or resource to Agrilinks or share what you are doing for World Food Safety Day and beyond, please reach out to [email protected]. Feed the Future has also crafted a social media toolkit to highlight the importance of food safety - we encourage you to take a look and engage!
While I have you, I’d like to highlight a few other important aspects of this issue and our approach over the next year. The fact is, food safety solutions are achievable if people have the right tools. Addressing global food safety is a big undertaking, but we have the answers and the motivation. What gives me hope is the belief that a safe, nutritious and affordable diet is possible for everyone, no matter the season. When resources are scarce, it is important that people can access safe food - an investment in good health, nutrition and food security.
With this in mind, I am very excited to announce the establishment of the Food Safety Division within the Center for Nutrition in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. This new Division supports implementation of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative and USAID’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy to raise consumer and government demand for safe food and partner with the private sector to meet that demand. Working across USAID, the Division will support Missions with resources and capacities to proactively address food safety risks throughout national and regional food systems, ensuring healthier diets and resilient markets.
USAID’s new Center for Nutrition is excited to lead a food safety portfolio spanning all parts of the food system and designed to help us learn, share lessons, scale up low-cost solutions and motivate change. In the year ahead, I look forward to champions for change emerging to drive policy actions, invest in good agricultural and manufacturing practices and build consumer trust in safer food systems.
We look forward to continuing this important conversation about how safe food supports nutrition, health, economic growth, and resilience. If you would like to receive periodic updates from USAID’s new Division for Food Safety, please share your email here. Thank you for your engagement!