World Food Safety Day (WFSD) takes place annually on June 7, with the aim of drawing attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks. The theme of WFSD 2023 is “Food standards save lives.”
According to the WFSD webpage, every year, 600 million people fall sick as a result of around 200 different types of foodborne illness, the burden of which falls mostly on the poor and on the young. In addition, foodborne illness is responsible for 420,000 preventable deaths every year.
The first WFSD took place in 2018, driven by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In an exclusive WFSD article written for the June 6 Food Safety Magazine eDigest issue, Corinna Hawkes, Ph.D., Director of FAO’s Food Systems and Food Safety Division, explains the history of WFSD, how Codex food safety standards are developed, and the global relevance of the theme “food standards save lives.” Read the article, titled, “World Food Safety Day 2023: Sound Science is the Foundation of Food Standards that Save Lives,” here.
Additionally, WHO’s “A Guide to WFSD 2023” provides an overview of the purpose of WFSD, the meaning behind 2023’s theme, ideas on ways to celebrate, key messes, fast facts, and other resources. Access the guide here. WHO/FAO also offer a WFSD Trello board and asset bank.
FAO will be holding four virtual events on June 7 in celebration of WFSD. Throughout the day, the organization and partner organizations will be holding four virtual events discussing different aspects of food safety and promoting new resources. Learn about the events and how to register here.
One discussion will provide a first look at a new good hygiene practices (GHP) and Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety toolbox. The toolbox, relevant to both the public and private sectors, is a website comprising a series of practical guidance documents based on the Codex Alimentarius General Principles of Food Hygiene. The website is a centralized repository for understanding and controlling food safety hazards, and it aims to assist policymakers and agrifood businesses in ensuring that their programs and policies align with internationally recognized best practices—GHPs and HACCP. Access the toolbox here.
Aside from FAO’s virtual offerings, there are a number of events taking place on and around WFSD 2023, globally. The Codex Alimentarius Commission webpage lists such events, covering a range of topics and taking place in many different countries or online. For example, events highlighted on the webpage include national day- or week-long food safety celebrations taking place around the world, educational workshops led by academia and government regulatory bodies, forums and public discussions, and other offerings. View the full list of 2023 WFSD events here.
U.S. and Academic Offerings
In the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is celebrating with a dedicated webpage that includes videos of testimonials from foodborne illness victims and tips for mitigating foodborne illness risks, suggestions for social media messaging alongside shareable educational content, and an overview of FDA’s involvement in food safety. Access the FDA WFSD webpage here.
Finally, for WFSD, the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) will provide open access from June 1–30, 2023 to all recorded webinars in the IAFP archives for non-members. This opportunity will allow non-members to benefit for 30 days from IAFP’s archive of informative and educational webinars led by experts in their respective fields. Learn more here.