WHO promotes '5 Keys' to food safety

Oct 13, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Two billion people around the world get sick from unsafe food each year, but following five simple rules could significantly reduce that toll, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

The WHO announced today a "5 Keys" strategy for preventing foodborne illness. The five rules are these: keep hands and cooking surfaces clean, separate raw and cooked food, cook food thoroughly, store food at safe temperatures, and use safe water and safe raw ingredients.

The WHO Web site presents the 5 Keys in a color poster available in 10 languages. The poster lists specific pointers related to each safety principle along with rationales for the principles. The strategy was announced in conjunction with the Second Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators in Bangkok.

"The 5 Keys represent measures which can be taken on an individual level, and immediately, to reduce the risk of foodborne disease," Dr. Jorgen Schlundt, director of the WHO's Food Safety Department, said in a news release.

The agency also said it has produced a manual to help member countries use and disseminate the 5 Keys. The manual is intended for food safety professionals, teachers, and other groups to use in training target groups such as food handlers and schoolchildren. The manual will be field-tested in Argentina, Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua in the Americas and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, and Timor Leste (East Timor) in Southeast Asia.

WHO regional offices are being encouraged to produce more specific versions of the 5 Keys strategy and the training manual, officials said. For example, the regional office for Southeast Asia, based in New Delhi, has produced a version of the manual that emphasizes ways to adapt the safety principles in situations where people can't afford the detergents generally recommended for preventing the spread of foodborne disease.

See also:

Oct 13 WHO news release

WHO's '5 Keys' poster

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