Safe and high-quality food for a healthier population

On the occasion of World Health Day (7 April), the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Valeriu Ghiletchi (Republic of Moldova, EPP/CD), has issued a strong call to the European authorities and member States to promote food safety.

“Food safety is a huge public health concern worldwide. Foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases kill an estimated 2 million people annually, including many children. We must do everything in our power to reduce this grim problem. We must educate people, strengthen legislation, supervise the food chain, and promote a healthy diet.”

“The growth in travel and trade increases the likelihood that contamination can spread. We should implement concrete measures by promoting the consumption of regional products and harmonising cross-border legislation. We need to respect the precautionary principle across Europe and beyond, in order to be aware of present and future nanoparticles in food. This is all the more important, as there are limited methods to characterise, detect, and measure the possible side-effects and consequences of chemicals, preservatives or packing components on health, from toxic effects to cancer.”

Referring to PACE’s 1957 (2013) resolution on “Food security – a permanent challenge for us all”, Mr Ghiletchi pointed out that food safety is a prerequisite for food security. The Assembly encouraged food safety and called for a reduction in public health risks, in particular for the most vulnerable population (such as children, pregnant women and sick or allergic persons), by strengthening the benchmarks on food hazards and labelling requirements for processed foods. Mr Ghiletchi affirmed that this requires better collaboration between governments, producers and consumers. Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is the key to sustaining life and promoting good health.