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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Food security - food transfers standard 6: Food use

Food is stored, prepared and consumed in a safe and appropriate manner at both household and community levels.

Key actions (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

Key indicators (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

Guidance notes

  1. Food hygiene: Disasters may disrupt people’s normal hygiene practices. It may be necessary to promote food hygiene and actively support measures compatible with local conditions and disease patterns, e.g. stressing the importance of washing hands before handling food, avoiding contamination of water and taking pest-control measures. Food recipients should be informed about how to store food safely at the household level. Caregivers should be provided with information on the optimal use of household resources for feeding children and safe methods for food preparation (see Hygiene promotion standard 1 and standard 2). Where community kitchens have been set up to provide hot meals to a disaster-affected population, special attention is needed in selecting the kitchen site, taking into account accessibility, safety and hygiene conditions of the site, cooking and drinking water availability, and eating space.
  2.  Sources of information: Mechanisms are needed for sharing information and collecting feedback from beneficiaries, particularly women (see Core Standard 1, guidance notes 2 and 6). For dissemination of instructions about food, schools and safe learning spaces should be considered as suitable locations. Accessible formats or diagrams may be needed for people with different communication requirements (see Core Standard 1, guidance note 4).
  3. Fuel, potable water and household items: When necessary, appropriate fuel should be provided or a wood planting or harvesting programme established, with supervision for the safety of women and children, the main gatherers of firewood (for stoves and fuel, see Non-food items standard 4). For water access, quantity, quality and facilities, see Water supply standards 1–3. For cooking and eating utensils and water containers, see Non-food items standard 3.
  4. Access to food processing facilities such as cereal grinding mills enable people to prepare food in the form of their choice and also save time for other productive activities. Household-level food processing such as milling can reduce the time and the quantities of water and fuel required for cooking (see Food security–food transfers standard 2, guidance note 2).
  5. Specific needs: Individuals who require assistance with feeding may include young children, older people, persons with disabilities and people living with HIV (see Infant and young child feeding standard 2 and Food security–food transfers standard 1, guidance notes 5–7). Outreach programmes or additional support and follow-up may be necessary to support some people with reduced capacity to provide food to dependents (e.g. parents with mental illness).