As the World Health Organization celebrated World Health Day yesterday, FDA elaborated on its current efforts to support food safety, the theme of the event.
Food safety is a global issue. According to FDA, 15 percent of food in the US is imported from other countries, though this includes 80 percent of seafood and nearly 50 percent of fresh fruit.
To ensure safety of the food supply, FDA says it is increasing its global collaborations to leverage the work of the World Health Organization and other global organizations like the UN.
“FDA works closely with major trading partners and is enhancing public-private partnerships through such education initiatives as World Bank's Global Food Safety Partnership, Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, Produce Safety Alliance, and Sprouts Safety Alliance,” FDA says.
The government agency is also working directly with Mexico to build an operational partnership on food safety. Agreements with other countries such as Canada and Australia are in the works and FDA has bolstered its foreign inspections with offices in China, India, Europe and Latin America.
In the US, FDA employs 1,600 investigators and inspectors that cover 95,000 FDA-regulated businesses. FDA physically examines approximately 1 percent of all imported shipments; 30,000 import shipments a year are detained due to goods that appear to be unacceptable. These efforts account for the safety of a trillion dollars’ worth of products in the US every year, according to FDA.
Still, consumers are encouraged to do their part on behalf of food safety. This is done through education and following programs like FDA’s Four Key Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
The World Health Organization has its own version of this program called "Five Keys to Food Safety" in which it adds the step of using safe water.
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