WHO Consultation to Develop a Strategy to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases, 25-27 September 2006
Background and report
Foodborne diseases (FBD) encompass a wide spectrum of illnesses and are a growing public health problem worldwide. Reliable epidemiological estimates on the burden of these diseases are important in order to assess the impact of food safety measures and advise policy-makers on the costeffective use of resources. Although several international initiatives are under way, no precise and consistent global information exists to date.
WHO's Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses (FOS) therefore launched an initiative to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases from all major causes, including chemicals and zoonoses, at an international consultation.
The result of the Consultation was a draft strategic framework for the assessment of burden of foodborne diseases, which included: (a) the outline of an evidence map for assimilating existing information on the burden of illness and (b) a time frame outlining the individual strategic activities in relation to the evidence framework. In addition, the participants agreed on the contents of a standard protocol for foodborne disease burden studies at country level including infectious and chemical causes. One of the major recommendations was the establishment of the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) which is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Consultation and estimating the global burden of foodborne diseases.