“1.6 Million People Worldwide Fall Ill Due To Consumption Of Unsafe Food,” Says WHO; Most Common Foodborne Illnesses Inside

Unsafe food causes $110 billion in annual losses in low- and middle-income countries.

by Nikitha Sebastian
“1.6 Million People Worldwide Fall Ill Due To Consumption Of Unsafe Food,” Says WHO; Most Common Foodborne Illnesses Inside

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted the alarming issue of consumption of unsafe food, stating that an estimated 1.6 million people worldwide become sick every day after consuming contaminated food. This stark statistic was released in conjunction with World Food Safety Day, observed annually on June 7th.

Consumption Of Unsafe Food

World Food Safety Day, established in 2018, aims to raise awareness and encourage action to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats associated with unsafe food. The theme, “Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected,” emphasises the diverse nature of food safety hazards.

The WHO pushes for shared responsibility in food safety. This means governments draft emergency plans, producers revamp their systems and empowered consumers learn safe food handling practices.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that unsafe food harms 40% of children under five each year, contributing to malnutrition and death. This contaminated food problem costs low- and middle-income countries a staggering $110 billion annually.

South-East Asia bears the brunt of the second-highest health burden from unsafe food, reporting 150 million illnesses and 175,000 deaths annually, which WHO attributes in part to the region’s tropical climate.

Also Read: WHO: COVID-19 Caused Global Life Expectancy To Dip By 2 Years; Reversed A Decade Of Progress

Common Foodborne Illnesses

Common foodborne illnesses include the following:

  • Staphylococcal food poisoning, which causes vomiting, nausea, and cramps.
  • Vibrio cholerae infection, which causes diarrhoea, dehydration, and weakness is another illness to watch out for.
  • Salmonella, found in poultry, eggs, and unpasteurised milk, causes fever, diarrhoea, cramps, and vomiting.
  • Rotavirus, a contagious virus, causes diarrhoea, vomiting, and dehydration, especially in young children, and requires immediate attention.

Contaminated food can be detected by observing mould growth on soft items like bread, fruits, or cheese. Discolouration in meat or fish, slimy or unpleasant odours in fresh meat, leaky packages, bulging cans, or unusually soft fruits and vegetables could also indicate contamination.

To minimise foodborne illness, shop at reputable vendors and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Inspect pre-packaged items for signs of damage, refrigerate perishable foods promptly and maintain the correct fridge temperature. If something seems off, throw it away. To minimise the risk of foodborne illness, choose reputable vendors and handle food at home with care.

Also Read: WHO Advises Consumption Of Food Immediately After Cooking To Avoid Food-Borne Illnesses

By working together, governments, producers, and consumers can significantly reduce the burden of foodborne illnesses and ensure a safer global food supply.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva (Representative Image)

For more such snackable content, interesting discoveries and the latest updates on food, travel and experiences in your city, download the Curly Tales App. Download HERE.