The world celebrates today, 16th October 2019 as World Food Day, and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) joins in commemorating this special day under the theme: “Our Actions Are Our Future Healthy Diets for A #ZeroHunger World.” The World Food Day is observed every year on October 16th by 150 countries across the world in support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ mission to use the event to raise awareness and to gather greater support and understanding of strategies that can help end world hunger.
Having access to an adequate amount of safe, nutritious, and healthy food is not the only key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (Zero Hunger) but also sustaining life and promoting good health. In the world today, foodborne diseases hinder socioeconomic development by damaging health care systems and destroying national economies, tourism, and trade. Food safety is an increasing threat to human health; with an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne diseases every year. Children under age 5 suffer 40% of the foodborne disease with 125 000 deaths every year (WHO 2019). Almost 1 in 10 people fall ill after eating contaminated food. In 2017, a report by Modern Ghana showed that over 60 Ghanaian students were reported to have suffered food poisoning believed to have been caused by the food they consumed in their schools.
The NCCE believes that attaining a Healthy Diet for a Zero Hunger World is a shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers as well. The Commission entreats everybody to play a role from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe for our health. Therefore, there should be a conscious effort to mainstream food safety on the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases in Ghana and the world as a whole.
As an institution mandated to create awareness in the citizenry about their rights and responsibilities, NCCE believes it is the right of every citizen to enjoy food safety; therefore government must put in place the right policies and programmes to ensure food safety and good health. On the other hand, it also the responsibility of citizens to cultivate a good and healthy lifestyle towards food safety and good agricultural practices especially with regards to locally processed foods and meats products to help promote our food and culture in the bid of championing food and nutrition security.
On this note, it is important to remind Ghanaians about a caution by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on the use of food adulterations in our Ghanaian urban markets with the aim of increasing profit, these include the mixing of fabric dyes with foods to make them look fresh, adding of cassava and maize flour to groundnut paste, putting dried and ground pear seed into powdered pepper to increase the quantity, melting of sugar and foam into honey among others. Bad farming practices such as the use of unwholesome fertilizers and chemicals, contaminated water for watering foods, and vegetables among others are all actions that have effects on the life of the everyday Ghanaian (GNA, 2015). These actions lead to food poisoning and also attract all kinds of diseases and sickness that can lead to death thus decreasing our human resource.
On this special day, the National Commission for Civic Education urges everyone to adopt healthy and hygienic food practices and also bear in mind that Our Actions Are Our Future Healthy Diets for A #ZeroHunger World.