Food safety

Women are drivers of sustainable development


Food safety is essential to good nutrition and health, which are vital to sustainable development. WHO estimates that every year, 1 in 10 people fall ill and 125,000 children under 5 years of age die from foodborne diseases. In many parts of the world, women grow and prepare the food that is sold in markets and consumed in homes, but they don’t always have access to food safety education. Efforts to improve food safety must consider the key role women play in improving the health, nutrition and development of their communities.

WHO urges Africa to strengthen food safety systems

WHO/Olivier Asselin

The WHO Representative in Kenya, Dr Rudolph Eggers, speaking at the opening session of the FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for Africa, highlighted that the African region has the highest burden of food-borne diseases with more than 91 million people falling ill and another 137,000 dying every year due to contaminated food, according to WHO’s estimates.

As Africa moves toward a free trade zone, food safety standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission will be a key mechanism to protect consumer health and facilitate trade throughout the region.

New Codex Work on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

UK hosted, and USA and Australia co-chaired, the Codex Physical Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance on 29 November – 2 December in London, UK. The Chair of the UK Food Standards Agency, Heather Hancock, highlighted that antimicrobial resistance is a major public health issue worldwide, and that the Codex plays an active and essential role in tackling the issue by taking a One Health approach. Representatives from over 40 Codex member countries and member organization agreed on the proposed new work that could start in 2017. FAO and WHO, in collaboration with OIE, will support Codex by providing scientific advice as necessary.