The World Health Organisation (WHO), has disclosed that annually, an estimated 91 million people in Africa consume contaminated food which renders them ill.
The Organisation added that such contaminated foods have led to 137,000 deaths, as they contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances which cause diseases ranging from acute diarrhoea to lifelong conditions, including some cancers.
WHO disclosed this in a statement to commemorate this year’s World Food Safety Day, with the theme: “Food Safety, Everyone’s Business,” which aims to raise global attention to the dangers and the solutions that individuals, producers and governments must make to protect the quality of food we consume.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, was quoted to have said: “Food-borne diseases are completely preventable. All players along the food chain have a role in making food safe, beginning with producers and processors and moving to distributors, food safety regulators, retailers and eventually servers and consumers.”
The international health body further added that Contaminated food not only affects human health, it taints food security, economic prosperity, agriculture vitality, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
In the past few years, WHO has been increasing its support to countries in Africa to strengthen the laboratory-based foodborne disease surveillance and build national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to food safety emergencies.
This has included, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the strengthening of national networks and participation in the International Food Safety Authorities Network.
World Food Safety Day highlights the need for better prevention, detection and management of foodborne risks.