Need for enhanced food safety as fish and food poisoning cases rise - Dr Lalabalavu

Need for enhanced food safety as fish and food poisoning cases rise - Dr Lalabalavu

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 13/06/2024
Photo: Ministry of Health

The rise in reported fish and food poisoning cases in Fiji over the past decade underscores the importance of food safety, according to Minister of Health, Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu.

While speaking during the World Food Safety Day Celebration at the Girmit Centre in Lautoka, Doctor Lalabalavu says food safety saves lives and is an indispensable element of food security, effectively mitigating foodborne diseases.

He says access to a sufficient supply of safe and nutritious food is instrumental in sustaining life and promoting good health.

The Minister says conversely, unsafe food laden with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances can result in over 200 diseases, ranging from gastrointestinal disorders to cancer.

He says prevention through prioritizing food safety practices along the entire supply chain, from production to consumption, these illnesses and fatalities underscore the urgent need for collective action to fortify food safety measures.

Dr Lalabalavu says it is crucial to acknowledge food safety as a shared responsibility, requiring active engagement from producers to consumers to ensure the safety of the food we consume.

He says while unforeseen circumstances may compromise food safety, proactive measures can mitigate ensuing risks and avert illness.

The Minister says while adopting a "farm to fork" approach, every food business must adhere to a comprehensive set of standards to safeguard the quality and safety of food products across diverse stages, including storage, handling, preparation, processing, and import and export.

He says this stringent adherence ensures consumer safety and compliance with governmental regulations.

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