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European Commission - Statement

World Health Day: Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis joins forces with the World Health Organisation to highlight the importance of food safety

Brussels, 07 April 2015

This year, World Health Day is dedicated to food safety, a topic that reminds us that all too often in Europe we take for granted that the food on our plates is safe. Europe should be proud that its 500 million consumers benefit from the highest food safety standards in the world and that many other countries take them as the norm to be followed. However, with the globalisation of trade in food, maintaining food safety and hygiene standards whilst providing non-EU countries access to our market is more important than ever.

EU food safety policy safeguards health along the agri-food chain. A body of law underpinned by solid science and risk assessment marks the cornerstone of our “from farm to fork” policy. As a result, Europeans can enjoy safe and nutritious food produced from healthy plants and animals, whilst enabling the food industry — Europe’s largest manufacturing and employment sector — to operate under the best possible conditions. Protecting the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production process is a key public health and economic priority. Compulsory checks take place to ensure that animals and plants are healthy; and that animal feed is safe, of high quality, appropriately labelled, and meets strict EU standards to prevent contamination and promote hygiene. The EU also ensures through rigorous controls that food imports and exports are safe.

Food safety requirements go hand in hand with Public health and economic requirements. Furthermore being inter-connected they are a shared responsibility. Promoting food safety together with healthy and sustainable diet can contribute to a healthier population as well as an appreciable food waste reduction. Such an environmental friendly approach will fast turn in savings on our health systems. I remain committed to working with international partners, as well as EU Member States, to tackle new and emerging threats to public health such as flu pandemics and food-borne illnesses. I also intend to build on our food safety standards so that they remain fit for purpose. The Commission joins the World Health Organisation (WHO) in calling for strengthened efforts to secure the highest possible levels of health protection and food safety throughout the world.

The World EXPO Milan 2015 will also focus on food: "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life". "Growing Europe's Future Together for a Better World" will be show cased in the EU pavilion which I look forward to visiting. Visitors will be experience first-hand how as a global partner, the EU is leading the way to a better and sustainable future for all.

World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the founding of the World Health Organisation. Each year, the WHO selects a key health issue, and encourages people from all ages and backgrounds to hold events that highlight the significance of this issue for good health and well-being.

STATEMENT/15/4740

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