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February 15th, 2019 / AfricaNews

Food security for all is a cornerstone of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, which recognizes that global sustainable development can only be achieved if hunger and all forms of malnutrition are eradicated (Sustainable Development Goal number 2). Nevertheless, the international community must be aware that food security does not only mean that enough food is produced and that all people have access to it. It is also fundamental that all food is safe for consumption. That is: there is no food security without food safety.

Globally, food-borne illnesses affect 600 million people and cause more than 420,000 deaths each year according to an assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO). Children bear the most tragic toll, both in terms of mortality and due to stunting, which affects 150 million children under the age of five and is often caused by dangerous microbes or parasites that creep into their meals. Last year, for example, a lethal outbreak of Listeria was responsible for more than 180 deaths in South Africa, almost half of them young children. The contamination originated in a food-processing company that exported to 15 countries.

The costs of unsafe food go far beyond human suffering. Contaminated food hampers socioeconomic development, overloads healthcare systems and damages economies, trade and tourism of a country. Read more…