07 Apr 2015 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 07 APR (NAMPA) There is an urgent need for all food handlers and consumers to understand the importance of adopting basic hygienic practices when buying, selling and preparing food.
This is the message of the United Nations Agencies in Namibia, represented by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in commemorating World Health Day on Tuesday.
The agencies have joined the international community to commemorate the day under the theme: How safe is your food? From farm to plate, make food safe.
In a media statement issued by the United Nations (UN) Agencies in Namibia on Tuesday, it said the theme highlights the urgent need for government organisations, food businesses and consumers to put measures in place that will improve food safety from the point of production to consumption.
The UNICEF Country Representative to Namibia, Micaela Marques De Sousa raised the concern that food can become contaminated at any point of production and distribution, and food producers play a critical role in preventing this.
There is an urgent need for all food handlers and consumers to understand the importance of adopting basic hygienic practices when buying, selling and preparing food to protect their health and that of the wider community, especially that of the children in Namibia. Equally, a large proportion of incidents of food-borne disease are caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, in restaurants, or markets, she cautioned.
De Sousa advised healthy practices such as washing hands with soap before preparing food or breastfeeding, to save babies lives.
Meanwhile, WHO Representative to Namibia, Dr Monir Islam, cited that food production has been industrialised and its trade and distribution have been globalised.
These changes introduce multiple new challenges to avoid food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals, he warned.
Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying illness are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, according to Islam.
FAO Representative to Namibia, Dr Babagana Ahmadu said there is also a growing concern over the increase of resistant microorganisms entering the food chain. The Representative of the WFP to Namibia, Jennifer Bitonde explained that countries need to share the responsibility of ensuring food safety by complying with international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice covering all the main foods and processes if the health of a consumer is to be guaranteed.
The UN Agencies in Namibia commend the efforts already being made by the government of Namibia and society at large to promote safe food practices. The UN further calls upon the Namibian government to prioritise food safety, align policies in agriculture, trade, health, education, social protection and mobilise adequate financial resources to make food safe for all, the statement added.