WHO: Impure foods create diseases

WHO: Impure foods create diseases

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Contaminated food causes millions of deaths

Contaminated food and contaminated drinking water are estimated to kill two million people a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The first results of an analysis of foodborne diseases worldwide presented today show that there is an urgent need for action. Coordinated cross-border measures along the entire food supply chain are necessary to sustainably increase food safety, according to the WHO communication.

According to the WHO, contamination of food with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances can lead to more than 200 different diseases - from diarrhea to cancer. Unsafe foods include, above all, uncooked foods of animal origin, fruit and vegetables contaminated by faeces, and shellfish with marine biotoxins in them, according to the WHO press release on the occasion of World Health Day. Under the motto "Food safety: From the farm to the plate", the challenges and opportunities in food safety will be discussed on April 7th. According to the WHO, the diseases caused by contaminated food are an important aspect here.

Modern food production with increased risks "Food production has been industrialized, trade and distribution have been globalized", whereby the "changes result in several new possibilities for contamination of the food with dangerous bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals", explains the WHO director Dr. Margaret Chan. Today, "a local problem with food safety can quickly become an international emergency." The subsequent investigation of an outbreak of food infections was much more complicated if the food on the plate or the portion of food contained components from several countries.

Infections caused by contaminated food in Germany Infections caused by contaminated food are also not uncommon in Germany, although the international trade routes often make it considerably more difficult to determine the source of the infection. One example is the 2011 EHEC epidemic, in which contaminated fenugreek seeds from Egypt were ultimately identified as the likely cause. (fp)

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