World Food Safety Day: Sixth commemorating under the theme “Food safety: let's prepare for the unexpected”

The Association of Bloggers Cameroon has engaged several bloggers to educate on a food safety campaign. It's easy for readers to check @ProgrammeZoonoses on Facebook and Twitter and they will find content which has been shared by bloggers, with content that has recorded more than 1000 likes and hundreds of comments.

The team did not relent to use hashtags like #PNPLZERJISSA2024. This identify not only those in the campaign but those who support the idea of food safety.

International Food Safety Day is jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, with the aim of attracting and inspiring action to help prevent diseases and infections.

The day reminds everyone about the need for food safety, cooking food properly before consuming.

The majority of cases of deaths due to food-borne illnesses in Africa concern children under five years old. While the costs of these diseases are largely unknown, we will fail to eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity if millions of poor and vulnerable people do not have access to healthy food. A harmful food is not a food!

Zoonoses Program in Cameroon

According to the WHO, one in ten people worldwide falls ill after ingesting a food that is harmful to their health. With a view to reducing the burden of diseases in Cameroon, the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses is raising awareness about food safety.

It is an important way to protect yourself from zoonoses. Created in 2014, and commonly referred to as the Zoonose Program , is mandated to ensure the promotion and appropriation of the “one health” concept through a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach in Cameroon.

We all know that food provides our body with the nutrients that are essential to keep us alive. However, when they are contaminated by pathogens, particularly of zoonotic origin, they can have disabling or even fatal effects.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 200 illnesses are due to the consumption of food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals.

As for animals, they can appear healthy even though they are sick, but once transmitted to humans, the disease can manifest itself and have significant health repercussions.

These are largely avoidable provided that food safety is considered a priority throughout the food chain, from producer to consumer. In my opinion, this is the only way to be certain that the food on our plates is safe: it is definitely a collective responsibility and everyone must play their role.

A PNPLZER team raising awareness among traders and consumers about food safety at the Mfoundi market in Yaoundé. 

However, it must be recognized that there are exceptional situations where, although we have all played our part, an unforeseen event occurs that compromises food safety.
And even then, there is always something you can do to prevent illness.

Food safety risks cross borders, so in an increasingly interconnected global food supply, the risks posed by unsafe food can, from a local problem, quickly cause a international emergency situation.

Everyone being a risk manager at their own level, it is important to remember that everyone assesses the risks related to food safety as part of their daily choices. These choices are made by us, individuals and, collectively, by our families, our communities, our businesses and our governments.

Access to safe, open and timely information to stakeholders, including health care providers, the media and the general public, also helps maintain confidence in the food supply and prevent the outbreak of disease. Hence the crucial role of the media in this educational process.

It is therefore time to join the actions of the zoonosis program in Cameroon to further reduce the health consequences of food-borne diseases and protect consumers.

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