Food Safety Day: Billions Of People In The World Are At Risk Of Unsafe Food

Food is essential to life; hence food safety is basic human right

. In a modelling study published in PLOS Medicine, 2020 after implementing warning labels in Mexico it is estimated that warning labels may effectively reduce obesity and obesity-related costs

Ms. Deepti Khatuja, Head – Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis memorial Research Institute,Gurgaon

Food is essential to life; hence food safety is basic human right. Billions of people in the world are at risk of unsafe food.

Major Challenges of food safety include four major areas: –

• Microbiological safety

• Chemical safety

• Personal hygiene

• Environmental hygiene.

1. Microbiological safety – Food is capable of supporting the growth of microbials that are potential sources of foodborne illness.

Viruses are more responsible for the majority of foodborne diseases but hospitalizations and deaths associated with foodborne infections are due to bacterial agents.

2. Chemical Safety – Nonfood grade chemical additives, such as colorants and preservatives, and contaminants, have been found in foods. (presence of higher levels of heavy metals).

3. Personal hygiene – Poor personal hygiene practices of food handler and preparers pose considerable risks to personal & public health.

4. Environmental hygiene – Accumulation of spoiled and contaminated food may lead to an increase pest & insect population that may results in risk of food contamination & spoilage.

Poor sanitary conditions at food storage and handling area.

Nutrition & food safety is inextricably interconnected

Achieving optimal human health & well being requires that people be both well nourished & free from foodborne diseases.

Foodborne disease often involves symptoms like low appetite, vomiting or diarrhea that can lead to decreasing intake and/or absorption of nutrient in the body, which also increase the risk of undernutrition.

Food adulteration, whether motivate by economic fraud or malicious food tampering, can have serious effect on health & safety. Adulterants in food is associated with the health that can cause hazardous effect – abdominal pain, nausea & vomitings, Cancer, Respiratory distress, Paralysis & Brain damage.

Adulterants like Metanil yellow in turmeric and sweat meats is a coal-tar dye that may cause cancer.Intestinal disorders after regular consumption of powdered sugar & other food items being adulterated with washing soda.Various Chemical & Colours used in fruits & vegetables which are poisonous for health. Calcium carbide → mango, banana etc.

Copper sulphate→ Used to ripen fruit faster can be carcinogenic.

Oxytocin a hormone used for faster growth of fruits & vegetables can lead to damage of the brain. Wax adds to shine on apples & pears. Consumption of chemical laden fruits & vegetables can prove disastrous for digestive system, eyes and liver.

To further, human health, diets must consist of foods that are both nutritious and safe: they must be enable people to meet (without exceeding) nutrient requirement and not expose them to foodborne illness.

Efficient and effective food systems action to improve nutrition and reduce foodborne disease requires synergies that seek to improve access to nutrient-dense foods while simultaneously improving their safety.

Fermentation, high-heat treatment, drying & preserving with salt are all processing practices aiming to improve safety or shell life that can also affect nutrient content.


Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick. Because food supply chain cross multiple national and regional borders, collaboration between government, producers, suppliers, distributors & consumers will ultimately ensure food safety in 21st century




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