Food safety is concerned with the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. Important facts on food safety are as enumerated below by the WHO.
Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health.
Disease burden from unsafe food
Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.
An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years.
Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the food-borne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.
Diarrhoeal diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, causing 550 million people to fall ill and 230 000 deaths every year
Economic burden of unsafe food
About US$110 billion is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.
Other Implications of unsafe food
Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick.
Food-borne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems, and harming national economies, tourism and trade.
Food supply chains now cross multiple national borders. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety.
Source : WHO