WHO says 1.6M people become sick daily from eating unsafe food

WHO
Photo credit: wam.ae

The World Health Organization on Friday said that every day, an estimated 1.6 million people become sick from eating unsafe food, Anadolu reports. 

Children under the age of 5 carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, Francesco Branca, head of nutrition and food safety at the WHO, told a UN press briefing in Geneva on World Food Safety Day.

Stressing that food safety hazards do not recognize borders, Branca said that in an "increasingly interconnected global food supply," risks posed by unsafe food can rapidly evolve from a local problem into an international emergency.

Humanitarian crises in many parts of the world drive food insecurity and compromise food safety.

The official urged governments to ensure that food safety is clear in their national action plans for health security and that the risk communication plans are updated and move towards integrated surveillance systems for animal, environmental, and human health.

Safe food 'fundamental' to achieving sustainable development goals

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) sees safe food as "fundamental" to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a senior food safety officer told the briefing.

Markus Lipp added that safe food is also one of the prerequisites to fulfill FAO’s strategic plan to enable better production, nutrition, the environment, and lives.

"When food is produced and traded in a safe and sustainable agrifood system, it contributes to a healthy life and improves sustainability by enabling market access and productivity, which drives economic development and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas," Lipp said.

"In particular, improved food safety will safeguard public health and reduce child mortality," he said, as children under 5 carry the highest burden of foodborne diseases.

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