Consumer health at risk
Mr.Yogendra Dhungel, Food Technologist at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control explained that food safety is interlinked with the human health; further food hygiene is all about maintaining safety and hygiene in the food chain. Speaking at the WASH Forum monthly series organized by Paschim Paaila jointly with Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO) to mark the World Health day with the topic “WASH in Relation to Food Hygiene and Public Health” on 26th April, Mr. Dhungel highlighted that access to safe water is a critical issue so it is obvious that consumers are vulnerable in respect to food hygiene and also pointed out that hygiene and safety monitoring system in Nepal is not very efficient. “We are still guided by Food Act 2023 BS which is out dated. Therefore the consumers’ health is at risk”, he added.
Linking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), food and public health, he described that water borne diseases, food borne diseases and low productivity are the main threats for public health. Dhungel opined that 4 per cent of the human diseases could be prevented by improved sanitation and hygiene.
There should not be any excuses in maintaining the food hygiene. About the query on when to maintain the food hygiene he simply answered “ALWAYS”. He explained five keys steps to maintain food hygiene;
i) Maintain cleanliness at personal level, keep cooking utensils clean and maintain safe sanitary environment in food preparation
ii) Cook thoroughly
iii) Separate cooked food and uncooked food
iv) Storage at safe temperature and
v) Use of safe raw materials and safe water.
Participants interacted more during the questions answer session with Mr. Dhungel where he shared his experiences about the organic food hype and the misconceptions on the junk food products. He also touched upon the legal definition of the drinking water and how the water industries have been fooling the general public about its standard.
Altogether 36 participants from different institutions; Nobel college, Golden Gate Int’l College, School of Environmental Science and Management (SchEMS), Asian College of Advance Studies (ACAS), Khwopa College, Padma Kanya Campus, Tri-Chandra Campus, National Health Sciences, National Open College and Lalitpur Valley College (LVC) attended the program with great interest and enthusiasm.
Ms. Merina Shakya, the network coordinator of Paschim Paaila thanked Mr. Dhungel for his innovative sharing on interrelationship between WASH and Food hygiene handing over the token of love. The forum ended with a group photo session.