1.6 million people get sick every day from unsafe food
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The World Health Organization said on Friday that every day, around 1.6 million people get sick from eating unsafe food.

Children under 5 bear 40% of the burden of foodborne diseases, said Francesco Branca, head of food and food security at WHO, at a UN press conference in Geneva on World Food Safety Day.

Stressing that food security risks know no borders, Branca said that in an "increasingly interconnected global food supply," the risks posed by unsafe food can rapidly evolve from a local problem to an international emergency.

Humanitarian crises in many parts of the world drive food insecurity and threaten food security.

The official urged governments to ensure that food safety is clear in their national health safety action plans and that risk communication plans are updated and move towards integrated surveillance systems for animal, environmental and human health.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) sees safe food as "fundamental" to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a senior food security official told the conference.

Markus Lipp added that safe food is also one of the prerequisites to fulfill FAO's strategic plan to enable better production, food, environment and life.

"When food is produced and marketed in a safe and sustainable agri-food system, it contributes to healthy lives and improves sustainability by enabling market access and productivity, which drives economic development and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas." Lipp said.

"In particular, improving food safety will protect public health and reduce child mortality," he said, as children under 5 bear the highest burden of foodborne illness. /AA

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