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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Food-borne diseases kill 340 under-five children daily globally -WHO

The World Health Organisation said, globally, an average of 340 children under five years of age die daily due to preventable food-borne diseases.

The WHO in a message to commemorate the World Food Safety Day today said globally, 1,600,000 people get sick due to unsafe food in one day, on average; and 200 diseases are caused by unsafe food, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.

The global health body, however, noted that food standards save lives.

People with higher risk of food poisoning. Image credit: Consumer Notice

World Food Safety Day is marked yearly on June 7 to draw attention to food standards.

“Food-borne diseases affect one in 10 people worldwide each year, and food standards help us to ensure what we eat is safe.

“Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustai

Food standards

ning life and promoting good health,” it said.

The organisation said the burden of food-borne diseases to public health and to economies has often been underestimated due to underreporting and difficulty to establish causal relationships between food contamination and resulting illness or death.

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“The 2015 WHO report on the estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases presented the first-ever estimates of disease burden caused by 31 food-borne agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals) at global and sub-regional level, highlighting that more than 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses and 420,000 deaths could occur in a year.

Symptoms of foodborne diseases

The burden of food-borne diseases falls disproportionately on groups in vulnerable situations and especially on children under five, with the highest burden in low- and middle-income countries.

“The 2019 World Bank report on the economic burden of the foodborne diseases indicated that the total productivity loss associated with foodborne disease in low- and middle-income countries was estimated at $95.2 billion per year, and the annual cost of treating foodborne illnesses is estimated at $15 billion,” it added.

Steps to food safety

It said governments should make food safety a public health priority, as they play a pivotal role in developing policies and regulatory frameworks and establishing and implementing effective food safety systems.

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