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World Health Day: Food, the Common Danger

Image Courtesy of Alessandro Valli

World health day is an annual day where The World Health Organisation celebrates its creation in 1948. Every year they pick a specific theme of what they focus and raise awareness about, and this year on April 7th it’s all about food safety. Food safety is a big issue around the world and food containing chemicals, harmful bacteria and parasites is still a big issue. Although on the surface it seems like we have got it all under control, food production causes problems with the environment as well and can be improved immensely.

Dangerous Food

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There are thousands of different variations of food all across the world, and all of these foods contain different ingredients. Obviously not all food is full of chemicals and a lot of it does not contain parasites. But there are so many products that we consume every day that have harmful products in them. The additive BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) is used to prevent oxidization in food products and is also used in a lot of cosmetics. We also see it used in jet fuels, rubber petroleum and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) warned it should not be used in the environment, as it can cause liver damage and is harmful to aquatic organisms. High fructose corn syrup is also abundant in all foods, and its high levels of fructose and glucose can lead to tissue damage and has proven to cause diabetes, heart disease and other serious health issues.

It’s important to know that there are many efforts in stopping harmful products to be used in your food. A good introduction to find out more about these issues is the eye opening documentary ‘Food Inc’ which takes a strong look into the food industry.

The Big Picture

Image Courtesy of JD Hancock

It is unknown by many that the food production of the world is putting a lot of pressure on the environment, especially the meat industry. The increased need for meat has meant that we also need to have more breed more animals for this specific purpose, which leads to water and air pollution and the rise of carbon dioxide in the air. This effect will cause a push on the environment to keep up with man’s unnatural processing of foods and the ever growing need of the people.

Factory farming has reduced the land space needed but it is now becoming a mass pollutant of air and water. There are farms in every country and factory farming is how it is done by the mass, this is leading to more areas having to deal with the risk of water contamination from animal waste. There have also been studies to show how much carbon dioxide the meat industry uses, the industry produces 9% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. This is a lot for one section of the food industry and is causing mass climate change across the globe, which is detrimental to people’s health.  

Prevent & Protect

Image Courtesy of Robert Couse-Baker

So how can we begin to control more of what is going into our food? Acknowledging World Health Day is a start and knowing the information is an important step into changing what goes into your body. Knowing what foods contain certain chemicals and parasites and knowing what they do will help you avoid the danger. The World Health Organisation wants people to be informed and understand that just because you can eat it, doesn’t always mean it is safe and has been produced in a healthy way for you and the environment. Just remember that not all food is unsafe, but it’s better to know what you are eating because the effects can be life changing.

If you are interested in the environment Frontier has amazing projects to work in habitat conservation. You can also become a medical volunteer and help people improve their health and learn more about ways to keep themselves healthy. Whatever you do, just know that the world still needs educating about food and water sources and telling them about World Health Day is a great start!

By Fay Partridge

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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