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Food that makes you ill

8,June, 2019
 

Unsafe food is responsible for millions of sick days

Every minute, 44 people — more than 23 million per year — fall sick from eating contaminated food, and an estimated 4,700 lose their lives, per year. This is according to a review of the most recent available data entitled The burden of foodborne diseases in the WHO European Region, and it represents only the tip of the iceberg: the true number of cases is unknown.

These findings are presented on the occasion of the first-ever World Food Safety Day on June 7. “Every country around the world, from small to big, from rich to poor, has suffered from foodborne illnesses, and Europe is no exception. The scale of the challenge posed by foodborne disease is striking, indicating the importance of preventing and mitigating risks to food safety,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

“Food is a global affair with a food chain that wraps around the planet. A simple meal can easily contain ingredients from multiple continents and its safety depends on international collaboration. World Food Safety Day is an unprecedented opportunity to call on governments to strengthen the systems that guarantee safe food, across sectors and across Europe and the world.”

Unsafe food is responsible for millions of sick days, and can sometimes lead to lasting or severe illness, hospitalisation and even death. The overall burden of foodborne disease in the Region is estimated to be 413 020 disability-adjusted life-years, meaning years in which a person’s life is affected by a disease.

A variety of bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical hazards have potentially serious consequences not only for human health but also for the economy and environment.

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