QU’s Human Nutrition Department marks World Food Safety Day

QU’s Human Nutrition Department marks World Food Safety Day

 08 Jun 2021 – 9:03

From Left: Dr. Tahra El Obeid, Head of Human Nutrition Department, College of Health Sciences; Dr. Grace Attieh, Teaching Assistant of Human Nutrition; Prof. Reema Tayyem, Professor of Human Nutrition; and Prof. Zumin Shi, Professor of Human Nutrition.

Doha: The Human Nutrition Department at Qatar University (QU) marked World Food Safety Day. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases. Safe food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. 

The World Food Safety Day aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism, and sustainable development. In this context, several Qatar University Academic members highlighted the importance for institutions and the food industry to prioritise food safety. 

Dr. Tahra El Obeid, Head of Human Nutrition Department, College of Health Sciences, stated that QU is committed to educating students about the importance of food safety. 

“College of Health Sciences has conducted many workshops to raise the awareness inside the University about the importance of healthy food that prevention the diseases that transfer through contaminated food. The Department has worked in new research about food safety that ensures food quality,” she said.

She noted that improper preparation or storage of food could cause many foodborne illnesses. 

“Animal products are sources of foodborne illnesses. That’s why we should make sure to follow the correct way in cooking and storage temperatures. We must always wash our hands and sterilise the cooking place to avoid the transfer of bacteria to the food.”

Dr. Abdelhamid Kerkadi, Associate Professor of Human Nutrition, said: “It’s essential for the food industry to ensure that food is safe for the consumer. And most of the company’s and restaurant goals are to provide high value of nutritional food to protect the consumer from food poisoning and food contaminated with bacteria, leading to a health problem for children and adults.” 

“Reducing food poisoning is one of public health priority. Food safety is a profitable priority because any contamination in food will leads to destruction, and in some cases, the company of restaurant loses and closed,” he added.

Prof. Vijay Ganji, Professor of Human Nutrition, stressed the need to strengthen efforts to ensure that consumed food is safe and healthy. 

She said: “When the food is not handled properly, it can be unsafe and can put you at risk of foodborne illness. The symptoms can range from mild such as diarrhea, vomiting to severe such as sepsis, meningitis. Children and the elderly with impaired immune function are more susceptible to foodborne illness. That why we must focus our efforts on educating the consumers in an easy, simple way to keep our food safe.” 

Professor Reema Tayyem, Professor of Human Nutrition, said there should be restrictions against selling unhealthy food.  Prof Tayyem said taxes should be levied on foods like soft drinks and desserts, and unhealthy food marketing should be limited. 

“Also doing campaigns to promote fruits and vegetable especially in schools and allocate classes on nutrition.”

Prof. Zumin Shi, Professor of Human Nutrition, commented: “Food safety shared responsibility between governments whose control risks in the food supply chain through routine audits. Secondly, our food supply system relies on the food industry to produce food compliance with food safety regulations. And in cases of food poisoning, it must respond efficiently and withdraw products. Also, consumers share the responsibility for maintaining food safety from the way foods are prepared, cooked, and stored.”

Dr. Grace Attieh, Teaching Assistant of Human Nutrition, said unsafe foods with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals cause more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhea to cancers – and enter the body through contaminated food or water. 

“Foods involved in a salmonella outbreak are eggs and poultry; affected people experience fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Unsafe food poses global health threats, putting everyone at particular risk: infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with an underlying disease.”

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