Online Program

Safe Food. From farm to plate. Keep it safe!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:13 p.m. - 12:19 p.m.

Sonia Mey-Schmidt, Pan American Health Organization, Communications, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Washington, DC
We all need food but are you sure that the food you eat is safe? Most of us take it for granted. But in fact food can become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemicals that cause more than 200 diseases—from diarrhea to cancers. Today, on World Health Day, I want to share a few facts and recommendations about food safety with you. 

In any given year, one in four people in the Americas suffers an episode of food poisoning. These incidents disproportionately affect vulnerable groups, especially children, pregnant women and the elderly. Moreover, lapses in food safety can have an impact not only on public health but on our countries’ economies.

In the Americas, with our abundant food production, we need to prevent outbreaks through robust systems that ensure the right mix of standards, checks and practices to protect against food safety risks.

PAHO is  working closely with countries throughout the Americas to achieve that mix by developing risk-based food safety systems that are sustainable and integrated. We promote the necessary laws and regulations, and strengthen food inspection and surveillance systems to ensure they are effective and cover the entire food chain, from farm to plate. 

The well-known Peruvian chef and entrepreneur Gastón Acurio talks in this video  about  preventing foodborne diseases.

Acurio raises awareness of the importance of safe handling of food both in the home and in commercial food establishments. Following the PAHO/WHO "five keys to safer food" helps prevent foodborne diseases ranging from gastrointestinal ailments to cancer.

"Ensuring that the people who come to your restaurant to eat leave happy but also healthy is just as important as flavor, that magic recipe or good service," says Acurio in a PSA filed in one of his cevicherías (ceviche restaurants) in Peru. Those five keys are: keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, and use safe water and raw materials.

The vido "Food safety: From farm to plate" calls for action to ensure food safety throughout the food chain, from production to consumption. In the Americas, about one in four people suffers an episode of foodborne illness in any given year due to pathogens including salmonella and E. coli.

But while industry and regulatory systems are primarily responsible for these processes, we all have a role to play in ensuring food safety. Even food prepared at home can be a source of foodborne illness, if it’s not handled properly. We need to adhere to the same food safety standards at home that we expect everyone else along the food chain to practice.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate and educate the importance of food safety in all process. This video was produced in occasion of World Health Day 2015: Safe Food. From farm to plate. Keep it safe. Food safety is the guarantee that a food will not harm the consumer when prepared or ingested. The incidence of foodborne diseases varies widely among countries, and low-income countries account for most of the problem. However, foodborne disease episodes continue to be a challenge for public health even in industrialized countries. Food safety standards and practices should be applied along the entire food chain: food production, transport, processing, distribution, retail sale, storage, handling, cooking, and serving. Inadequate practices at any stage of the food chain mean exposure to food hazards, which disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged groups. Food safety is intricately linked to market trends, consumer demands, and economic and environmental policy. Climate change likely has an enormous impact on food and water security and on foodborne diseases. Other major challenges include the appearance of greater antimicrobial resistance due to the use of antibiotics in food production.

Keyword(s): Public health or related education, Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidel

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am registering this video on behalf of the Pan American Health Organization, Office of Communications. I am a media producer for PAHO/WHO. PAHO is the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.