WHO: 1.6M people become sick every day from consuming unsafe food

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sounded the alarm on the growing global food safety crisis, reporting that an estimated 1.6 million people become sick from unsafe food every day, Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.

Speaking at a UN press briefing on World Food Safety Day, Francesco Branca, head of nutrition and food safety at the WHO, stated that children under 5 bear 40% of the burden of foodborne diseases. Branca stressed that food safety hazards do not recognize borders, and in today’s interconnected global food supply, local issues can rapidly evolve into international emergencies.

The WHO official urged governments to prioritize food safety in national health security plans and strengthen risk communication and integrated surveillance systems for animal, environmental, and human health.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also emphasized the critical importance of food safety in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Markus Lipp, a senior FAO food safety officer, explained that safe food is fundamental to enabling better production, nutrition, environment, and economic development, particularly in rural areas.

With humanitarian crises driving food insecurity and compromising safety in many parts of the world, global leaders are being called upon to take decisive action. Ensuring access to safe food is not only a public health imperative but also a key prerequisite for sustainable development and poverty alleviation worldwide.

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