Acting Minister of Public Health Bourne-Gumbs World Health Day Message 2015 “Uncontaminated Food that is Safe to Eat”


PHILIPSBURG – Acting Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs would like to wish all residents happy World Health Day 2015 which will be celebrated across the globe on Tuesday, April 7.  In many countries in the Region of the Americas, diseases caused by contaminated food are a serious health problem for the population.

The theme for World Health Day is – “Food Safety, Uncontaminated food that is safe to eat.”

Every day, cases are reported of people who contract disease from the food or water that they consume and that is contaminated with microorganisms, dangerous germs, and/or toxic chemicals that can even cause death.

These diseases are a serious health threat, affecting mainly children, pregnant women, immuno suppressed people, and the elderly.

“It is good to remember that most foodborne diseases occur at home because of poor food handling.  Therefore we need to be very cognizant of the importance of properly food handling and preparation in the home.  We want to protect our family members from getting unnecessarily ill.  Make food preparation and handling a top priority every day in your home so we may have strong and healthy St. Maarten families,” Acting Minister of Public Health Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs said on Monday on the eve of World Health Day 2015.

Water and food are safe when they do not contain dangerous microbes (bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi), chemicals (allergens, waste from veterinary drugs, agrochemicals, or toxins), or foreign bodies (soil, hair, insects, etc.) that are a danger to our health.

Foodborne diseases reduce society’s productivity, cause considerable stress for health care systems, and decrease economic output because of loss of confidence in safe tourism, food production, and the food marketing system.

Minister Bourne-Gumbs in conclusion says: the five keys to keeping food safe are, use water and food that are safe for consumption; practice cleanliness; separate raw meat, chicken, and fish from other foods; cook food completely; and store food at safe temperatures (very cold or very hot).