FAO Current Affairs - 2019

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18 June: Sustainable Gastronomy Day observed

The Sustainable Gastronomy Day is observed all across the world every year on 18 June. Gastronomy refers to the study of relationship between food and culture and the commitment to sustainability implies responsibility for production and consumption of food.

About Sustainable Gastronomy Day

Background: In December 2016, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 18 June as World Sustainable Gastronomy Day by adopting resolution A/RES/71/246.

Objective: To acknowledge gastronomy as a cultural expression related to natural as well as cultural diversity of world. It also reaffirms that all cultures and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development throughout the world.

Sustainable Gastronomy Commitment: means that all player involved such as public, private, producer, business, and travel institutions should support consumption of sustainable food and work towards creating links with local producers. This commitment of gastronomy towards principles of sustainability includes- poverty reduction, protection of cultural values, heritage and diversity, efficient use of resources and environmental protection and climate change.

Observance Facilitation: The United Nation General Assembly (UNGA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) work towards facilitating observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day, in collaboration with Member States, UN organizations and other international and regional bodies, as well as civil society.

Significance: The day is observed to emphasize the need to focus world’s attention on role that sustainable gastronomy can play in addition to its interlinkages with the three dimensions of sustainable development which is in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by promoting-

  • conservation of biodiversity
  • agricultural development
  • nutrition
  • food security
  • sustainable food production

7 June: 1st World Food Safety Day observed

The World Food Safety Day 2019 was observed on 7 June with the theme-Food Safety, everyone’s business’. It was first ever World Food Safety Day.

Key Highlights

Background:  The WFS day was facilitated by World Health Organisation(WHO) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations (UN). This day was instituted by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting a resolution for effect in December 2018 with an aim to highlight importance of safe food and to reduce problems related to it.

Objective: By observing World Food Safety Day, WHO pursues its efforts of mainstreaming food safety in public agenda and reducing burden of foodborne diseases globally.

Food Safety

According to WHO data, almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated, with almost 1,25,000 deaths of children under 5 years. Around 600 million annual cases of the foodborne disease have been reported every year. The development of many low-and middle-income economies is hindered due to unsafe food. As result, these countries lose around US$ 95 billion in productivity associated with illness, disability, and premature death suffered by workers.

Initiatives in India

On occasion of first-ever World Food Safety Day, Union Minister of Health launched various initiatives such as-

  • State Food Safety Index (SFSI): The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has developed first State Food Safety Index (SFSI) to measure performance of States on five parameters of food safety. This is an effort of ministry to motivate states to work towards ensuring safe food for citizens.
  • Raman 1.0: It is hand-held battery operated equipment that performs rapid detection, in less than a minute of economically driven adulteration in fats, ghee and edible oils.
  • Food Safety Magic Box: It is do-it-yourself food testing kit comprising of a manual and equipment to check for food adulterants. This can serve as innovative solution to take food safety to schools.
  • Eat Right Awards: instituted by FSSAI, with aim to recognize contributions made by food companies and individuals to empower citizens to choose safe and healthy food options so as to improve their health and well-being.