The World Health Organization (WHO) cites this staggering statistic:
- An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420,000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs).
- $110 billion (US) is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.
- Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125,000 deaths every year.
- Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems and harming national economies, tourism, and trade.
In the US alone, 48 million are sickened, 125,000 hospitalized and there are at least 3,000 deaths.
The above statistics do not account for the Lancet found that poor diets were linked to one in five Deathsyearly. The study concluded that one-fifth of deaths around the world were associated with poor diets — defined as those short on fresh vegetables, seeds, and nuts but heavy in sugar, salt, and trans fats. In 2017, that came to 11 million deaths that could have been avoided, the researchers said. Most of those, around 10 million, were from cardiovascular disease, researchers found. The next biggest diet-related killers were cancer, with 913,000 deaths, and Type 2 diabetes, which claimed 339,000 lives.
Clearly, food safety from both acute and chronic causes is a major challenge world-wide.