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In coming times, the great majority of people will experience a food or water borne disease at some point in their lives. This highlights the importance of making sure the food we eat is not contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins and chemicals.

Here are ten interesting facts on food safety

1. Millions of people fall ill every year and many die as a result of eating unsafe food. Diarrheal diseases alone kill an estimated 1.5 million children annually, and most of these illnesses are due to contaminated drinking water.
2. Food contaminated with heavy metals or with naturally occurring toxins can also cause long-term health problems including cancer and neurological disorders.
3. For infants, pregnant women, the sick and the elderly, the consequences of foodborne disease are usually more severe and may be fatal.
4, Today’s food supply is complex and involves a range of different stages before the food reaches the consumers. There are numerous stages at which contamination can take place.
5. Globalization of food production and trade has many stages in which it is packed and then transported to various places. This is such a complex process which prevents from finding the culprit of foodborne disease.
6. Different governmental departments and agencies, need to collaborate and communicate with each other and engage with the civil society including consumer groups.
7. Food contamination is not just harmful to health but also to – it undermines food exports, tourism, livelihoods of food handlers and economic development, both in developed and developing countries.
8. Overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in agriculture and animal husbandry, in addition to human clinical uses, is one of the factors leading to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.
9. Achieving food safety is a multi-sectoral effort requiring expertise from a range of different disciplines – toxicology, microbiology, parasitology, nutrition, health economics, and human and veterinary medicine.
10.People should make informed and wise food choices. They should know common food hazards and how to handle food safely, using the information provided in food labelling.

(Content: WHO)


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