Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that every-year; an estimated 137,000 people in Africa lose their lives from eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses or chemical substances.
According to the global health body, an estimated 91 million people in Africa consume contaminated food that renders them ill annually.
In a statement made available to the Daily Times on Friday to commemorate the 2019 World Food Safety Day, the WHO called on government at all levels as well as food producers to ensure adequate protection on the quality of food consume by the people.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti stated that contaminated food not only affects human health but also destroy food security, economic prosperity, agriculture vitality, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
To this end, he reaffirmed the commitment of WHO to strengthen its support to countries in Africa through solid laboratory-based foodborne disease surveillance as well as build national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to food safety emergencies.
While stressing that Food borne diseases are completely preventable, the WHO boss added that achieving the task requires the collaboration of everyone.
“Everyone 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.
‘’Contaminated food not only affects human health, it taints food security, economic prosperity, agriculture vitality, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
Although everyone is susceptible, infants, young children, pregnant women, older persons and individuals with a weakened immune system (such as HIV infection, liver disease or who are on cancer treatment) are particularly vulnerable.
‘’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.
‘’WHO also works with countries to target food safety health promotion initiatives to promote food hygiene in different settings, such as schools and food markets, and for infant and young child feeding practices’’.
The theme of this year’s World Food Safety Day is, “Food Safety, Everyone’s Business’’.