A regional director at the World Health Organization has said the number of people getting sick or dying from unsafe food is “staggering” and “unacceptable.”
Every year in Europe and Central Asia, more than 23 million people fall sick from foodborne illness, with the poor and young mostly impacted. Such illness is responsible for 5,000 preventable deaths annually, according to WHO statistics published in 2015.
Hans Kluge, WHO Europe regional director, said the region can and needs to do better.
“The staggering number of individuals falling sick or dying after consuming unsafe food in our region is unacceptable. Food safety is a highly complex health issue involving multiple domestic and international stakeholders. Over 200 diseases are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances,” he said during a webinar on World Food Safety Day.
“In recent years, food safety in the region has been affected by new developments that have changed the conditions in which food is produced, processed, traded and consumed.