According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food-borne diseases annually kill an estimated 2 million people, including children. The theme of this year’s World Health Day, marked every year on April 7, is food safety. To highlight the importance of food safety, officials and members of the UN office in Uzbekistan and the Ministries of Health, Public Education, and Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan held a press conference at Poytaht Business Center in Tashkent.
In his World Health Day message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers… WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) work together to set international standards for safe food. They assess the safety of new food technologies, and help countries to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of food-borne disease… WHO is calling on countries and all actors to improve food safety from farm to plate and everywhere in between.”
Speakers at the press conference included Deputy Minister of Health Saidmurod Saidaliyev, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner, and WHO Representative in Uzbekistan Dr. Asmus Hammerich.
Priesner said that healthcare is one of the key areas of cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of Uzbekistan. In his turn, Dr. Hammerich noted that agriculture, food transportation companies, public catering services and the food industry play the primary role in ensuring food safety.
Saidaliyev said that the Ministry of Health is the primary body in the system of monitoring the quality and safety of food in Uzbekistan. Komiljon Muhamedov of the Ministry of Health did a presentation with detailed information on how Uzbekistan monitors food safety. In particular, he said that among the priorities in this area are improvement of the relevant legislation and the potential of laboratories as well as raising public awareness of healthy food and healthy eating.
To prevent food poisoning, WHO recommends five simple rules:
1. Keep clean
2. Separate raw and cooked
3. Cook thoroughly
4. Keep food at safe temperatures
5. Use safe water and raw materials