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Case Study: Consumer Education

Case study about the role of the consumer.
Aerial view of a round table with breakfast food on it with 2 people sitting
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Food can be contaminated with pathogens at any stage along the food chain. Thus, ensuring pathogen free food requires a coordinated effort from everyone in the food chain.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 1.8 million people die each year from diarrhea related diseases. The most of these can be attributed to contaminated food or water and they can be prevented.

In Europe, the majority of foodborne incidents occur at home with bacteria (such as Campylobacter and Salmonella) and viruses (such as norovirus) the predominant causes. Education at this point will allow consumers to make informed choices about food consumption, handling and storage conditions and prevent foodborne disease.

Food Safety Educators

The World Health Organisation published “The Five Keys to Safer Food” in 2001 as a simple way to train food handlers and educate consumers about important food safety practices and prevent foodborne illness. The key has become an international reference source adopted by more than 100 countries. It is recognised as one of the best World Health Organisation global risk communication messages.

The five keys are as follows.

  1. Keep clean
  2. Separate raw and cooked food
  3. Cook thoroughly to the appropriate temperature
  4. Keep food at safe temperatures, both for serving and storage
  5. Use safe water and raw materials

They message is evidence based and explains the ‘why’ behind each of the five principles. As a result, billions of food handlers are empowered to make safe and informed choices and prevent foodborne diseases. You can find more information on The Five Keys to Safer Food in the downloads section below.

What we would like you to do

Please answer the following questions on The Five Keys to Safer Food in the comments below:

  • Do you think this message has been well communicated in your country?

  • Are you surprised at the five actions which can prevent foodborne diseases and death?

  • Do you always follow these key principles when preparing food?

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Farm to Fork: Sustainable Food Production in a Changing Environment

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