GENEVA – Ahead of World Food Safety Day, UN agencies are calling for concerted action to ensure food is free of the toxins that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.
A UN report on world food security reveals that nearly 690 million people suffered from chronic hunger in 2019, before COVID-19. The full impact of the pandemic on food insecurity is not yet known. However, the report estimates that up to 132 million more people will have run out of food in 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Dominique Burgeon is Director of the Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Geneva. He said food security is the key to food security.
âEvery year 600 million people get sick and one in 10 people, approximately 420,000 die from eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals. Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg, as comprehensive foodborne disease surveillance data is not available everywhere, âsaid Burgeon.
In addition, he said unsafe food causes significant financial burdens in low- and middle-income countries, amounting to productivity losses of some $ 90 billion per year.
United Nations agencies say food safety is a shared responsibility and that everyone has a role to play in ensuring food safety and keeping people healthy. Burgeon said that includes those who produce the food, industry, governments and consumers.
âThe way you store your food, the way you cook it. But, of course, I would say it goes from farm to fork. So really early in the process. The way food is producedâ¦ the way food is stored, then the way it is transported, processed, and so on. “, did he declare.
United Nations agencies say food security involves a holistic approach that takes into account human, animal, plant and environmental health. They believe that understanding and preserving all aspects of the food chain will contribute to healthy living and a healthy planet.