The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed a new handbook to help countries improve food safety by assessing causes, magnitude and distribution of foodborne diseases.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus disclosed this yesterday while commemorating this year’s World Food Safety Day.
“WHO’s new handbook will help countries to collect and analyze data to inform sustained investments in food safety.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the intimate links between the health of humans, animals and the planet that sustains us.
“WHO will continue to work with partners with a One Health approach to keep communities safe from foodborne disease,” he said.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that majority of people in Africa believe the myth that dirt cannot kill a black man, hence ignoring the dangers of food borne diseases.
According to the WHO, 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses are reported every year.
In 2010, 420 000 people died due to such diseases as salmonella and E.coli infection, a third of them children under five years of age.
There are over 250 different food hazards that cause various health issues such as acute or long-term illness or even death.
“Food should sustain and support human health, not harm it,” said Dr. Tedros.
Speaking further, he revealed that in 2020, the World Health Assembly adopted a new resolution mandating WHO to monitor the global burden of foodborne and zoonotic diseases at national, regional and international levels and to report on the global burden of foodborne diseases with up-to-date estimates of global foodborne disease incidence, mortality and disease burden by 2025.
He added that the Organisation was reconvening its foodborne disease burden epidemiology reference group (WHO FERG) with 26 new international experts.
The group’s main functions were to advise WHO on methodologies to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases, to monitor global food safety indicators and measure progress being made in food safety.
In 2015, the previous FERG helped WHO publish a historic report that revealed, for the first time ever, the global public health burden of foodborne diseases based on 31 foodborne hazards.
The report showcased the massive health impact of unsafe food and highlighted the need for strong and sustained action.
Therefore the new handbook is a step taken in the right direction as it will assist countries to measure their foodborne disease burden and identify food safety system needs and data gaps so they can strengthen national infrastructure and better protect people’s health