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Apr 15, 2015

World Health Day Observed in Belize, Food Safety is Key

How safe is your food?  That’s the focus of this year’s World Health Day.  While it was celebrated internationally a week ago, the Ministry of Health, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, and the Pan American Health Organization commemorated the day with an event in Belmopan.  A food fair was held this morning on the grounds of the Western Regional Hospital and this afternoon, an adjacent Vaccination Center was inaugurated by C.E.O., Doctor Peter Allen.  News Five spoke with nutritionist Robyn Daly who told us about today’s activities.

 

Robyn Daly, Nutritionist, MoH

“Today as part of our activities we are focusing the fair on food safety.  So if you go around you will see food being displayed, you will see aspects of food safety, what it would take to have safe food on your plate.  So we have representation from BAHA, from the pesticide board, you know pesticides play a big role in terms of safe crops.  We have the Ministry of Agriculture and Central Farm showing their crops.  Also bottled goods that they produce.  Also we have some private organizations such as Western Dairies and Citrus Products of Belize showcasing a few of their products as well.  And then we have our Ministry of Health staff showcasing our different areas which is our health promotion, highlighting our food basket, our food guidelines.  Our nurses are out here as well, our immunization unit which is a part of our maternal and child health unit just showcasing a few of our health-based products that we offer at the Ministry of Health.”

 

Robyn Daly

Isani Cayetano

“Going back to the theme for this year, how important is it to know and be aware of food safety?”

 

Robyn Daly

“It’s very important.  We made reference, when we were doing promotions for World Health Day we made reference to a study which was done in 2012 which goes to say that we have many, about seventy-six thousand or more unreported foodborne illnesses.  So there’s a lot of foodborne illnesses which are characterized by mostly diarrhea, vomiting and cases like that that go unreported.  So this is saying that we do have cases where we need to be more careful in the preparation of our food.  Some of the tips that we are highlighting for food safety, we have five main tips, we’re looking at keeping your area clean, washing your hands, keeping your utensils clean, make sure we look at temperature for food.  When it’s cooked, when it’s away from the stove, how long do you have it away from heat, temperature-wise.  So there are many different factors that affect food safety and some of those components are being displayed.”

 

Today’s food fair was attended by various primary, secondary and tertiary level institutions around the Belmopan area.

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