Food safety specialist Bobby Krishna took a giant leap, literally, which he said “will build confidence in our food supply chain”. Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: A Dubai Municipality official has taken the message of food safety “sky-high” by marking World Food Safety Day-2022 with a skydiving stunt.

Food safety specialist Bobby Krishna took a giant leap, literally, which he said “will build confidence in our food supply chain” in an article titled ‘Make food safety a priority’, which he shared on LinkedIn today.

Krishna also posted a video of the skydiving session in which he wore a T-shirt with the message ‘I love food safety’. It was organised in view of the World Food Safety Day observed on June 7.

“Food safety rarely ‘trends’ on the internet and when it does, it’s mostly driven by panic and fear,” said Bobby, who has been with the Food Safety Department of the civic body for more than 17 years. Despite significant advancements in science and technology, Krishna observed that unsafe food and water continue to be two of the biggest public health challenges across the globe. “It is perhaps time to prioritise matters of public health and increase investments to advance food safety, using latest technology for detection and prevention of foodborne illnesses, particularly in the wake of lessons learned from the management of COVID-19 pandemic.”

In Dubai, the FoodWatch Connect app from the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality is designed to digitise all aspects of food safety management. During an online session of Dubai Food Safety Forum, coordinated by him, Krishna, who was instrumental in launching the FoodWatch platform, reminded food businesses that registered users of the platform can use the app to carry out daily food safety checks, apply for food permits and access free e-learning videos.

Global concerns

One in ten people fall ill with foodborne diseases every year and close to half a million people die because of contaminated food across the world. “These diseases and their consequences are preventable. Our food production system is widely distributed and our supply chain and distribution systems are overstretched and thus, vulnerable to food safety risks,” said Krishna, who has won several accolades, including the NSF International Food Safety Leadership Award for being a Trendsetter in 2013, from the United States.

Bobby Krishna also posted a video of the skydiving session in which he wore a T-shirt with the message ‘I love food safety’. Image Credit: Social media

Food producers and processors play a major role in keeping contaminants away from the food, he noted. “By adopting good practices from farm-to-fork and implementing food safety management systems, they ensure that food is produced and distributed safely. Governments share the responsibility with the food industry by ensuring that the right food safety risks are identified and scientific and risk-free measures are developed and implemented to mitigate those risks.”

Top tips for consumers

However, consumers also play a major role in ensuring that food is stored, prepared and consumed safely, Krishna highlighted. Some of the top tips shared by Krishna with consumers are as follows.

1. Take care of where you buy your food from. The source of the food has to be safe, It should be from licensed and inspected food businesses.

2. Transport food safely to home after purchase. Get home quickly. In hot conditions, cold foods such as milk and sandwiches can become unsafe quickly. These foods need not smell or taste bad even when they are unsafe.

3. Store cold food in the refrigerator quickly and take them out only just before use.

4. Cook food such as meat and fish at 75 degrees Celsius or above, especially if the meat is minced. Make sure eggs are cooked well.

5. Wash vegetables and fruit under running water. Rub and rinse them well and use sanitisers that are safe and made for home use.

6. When handling meat and poultry in the kitchen, take care of the surrounding area. Ensure that table surfaces, boards, knives and sponges (used for cleaning) do not become a source of contamination. Use separate chopping boards and knives.

7. While dining out, check the food safety grade of the restaurant on the Dubai Municipality app.

Foodborne diseases are preventable

Foodborne diseases are completely preventable, Krishna pointed out. “Food safety is driven by food safety professionals like government officials involved in policy making and inspections, consultants, auditors, trainers, food safety managers, quality assurance professionals and laboratory personnel,” explained Krishna, who plays a key role in organising the annual Dubai International Food Safety Conference that brings together global experts to tackle various aspects of food safety challenges.

In his message to the food safety fraternity, he urged them to be agile in view of increasing pressure on the global supply chain and food shortage due to conflicts and other reasons. He urged them to focus more on analysing the causes of foodborne disease outbreaks and food poisoning cases and consider options that can better detect food safety problems.

Commitment to food safety

The ‘World Food Safety Day’ is a great opportunity to reinforce our commitment to food safety and to spread awareness about the importance of safe food and mobilise action to detect, prevent and manage foodborne risks and improve human health, he said.

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The United Nations has declared this day to draw global attention to the health consequences of contaminated food and water. Dubai Municipality is organising a series of events in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and public and private sector under this year’s theme, ‘Safer Food, Better Health’.

“Any food can be consumed only if it is safe. All of us want to promote a good food safety culture and let us do that by making food safety a priority in every food establishment. There should be zero tolerance for behaviour and practises that could compromise food safety. It is our shared responsibility and let us pledge to maintain it and make the world a better place to live in,” Krishna said.