WHO/V. Gupta-Smith
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                                Food safety

                                  Overview

                                  Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances can cause more than 200 different diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. Around the world, an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people – fall ill after eating contaminated food each year, resulting in 420 000 deaths and the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs).

                                  Food safety, nutrition and food security are closely linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick. In addition to contributing to food and nutrition security, a safe food supply also supports national economies, trade and tourism, stimulating sustainable development. The globalization of food trade, a growing world population, climate change and rapidly changing food systems have an impact on the safety of food. WHO aims to enhance at a global and country-level the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats associated with unsafe food.

                                   

                                  1 in 10 people

                                  fall ill

                                  after eating contaminated food worldwide

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                                  420 000 people

                                  die every year

                                  due to eating contaminated food globally, of which 125 000 are children under 5 years of age.

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                                  US$ 110 billion

                                  lost each year

                                  in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle income countries

                                  World Bank report

                                  Groups

                                  Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme

                                  The Codex Alimentarius, or "Food Code" is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The Commission is a joint intergovernmental body of FAO and WHO with 188 Member Countries and one Member Organization. Codex has worked since 1963 to create harmonized international food standards to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair food trade practices.

                                   

                                  Publications

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                                  Report of the technical consultation on measuring healthy diets: concepts, methods and metrics

                                  Food systems and diets are changing everywhere and monitoring the healthfulness of diets at global and national levels is becoming increasingly important....

                                  Pesticide residues in food - 2017: toxicological evaluations

                                  This volume contains toxicological monographs that were prepared by the 2017 Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), which met in Geneva...

                                  Safety and quality of water used with fresh fruits and vegetables

                                  During fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV) production, water is used for a variety of purposes. Even the water was conventionally treated and disinfected,...

                                  Food systems for health: information brief

                                  WHO is promoting the implementation of a package of game changing food systems actions, that complement each other and focus on improving the nutritional...

                                  World Food Safety Day 2021: Overview of festivity and creativity

                                  With a theme of ‘Safe food now for a heathy tomorrow’, World Food Safety Day (7 June 2021) focused on the immediate and long-term benefits...

                                  Report of the second meeting of the Technical advisory group on food safety: safer food for better health, virtual meeting, 19 and 22–23 April 2021

                                  The second Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting on the update of the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety was held on 19, 22–23 April 2021, from...

                                  Report of the first meeting of the Technical advisory group on food safety: safer food for better health, virtual meeting, 8–10 February 2021

                                  The first Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting on the update of the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety was held on 8–10 February 2021, from...

                                  Food control system assessment tool: introductory booklet

                                  National food control system plays a pivotal role in protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in food trade. When we are able...

                                  Other documentation

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                                  WHO Global Strategy Food Safety 2022-2030 publication cover

                                  In 2020, a resolution titled ‘‘Strengthening efforts on food safety’’ was adopted by the Seventy-third World Health Assembly. In...

                                  The following extracts of the results of the 2021 Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) are provided to make them accessible to interested...

                                  In 2020, a resolution titled ‘‘Strengthening efforts on food safety’’ was adopted by the Seventy-third World Health Assembly. In...

                                  The following extracts of the results of the 2021 Extra Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) are provided to make them accessible to interested...

                                  Assessment tool

                                  Food control system assessment tool: dimension D: Science / Knowledge base and continuous improvement

                                  Dimension D looks at the necessary features for the system to build its scientific soundness and to keep abreast of new scientific developments and innovations,...

                                  Food control system assessment tool: dimension C: interactions with stakeholders

                                  Dimension C identifies the interactions that must take place for the system to regularly adjust to national and international stakeholders’ evolving...

                                  Food control system assessment tool: dimension B: control functions

                                  Dimension B focuses on the processes and the outputs of the national food control system. It revolves around the control functions that must be exercised...

                                  Food control system assessment tool: dimension A: inputs and resources ?

                                  Dimension A aims at mapping the fundamental elements necessary for the system to operate. These range from legal and policy instruments to financial assets,...

                                  Food control system assessment tool: introduction and glossary

                                  National food control system plays a pivotal role in protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in food trade. When we are able...

                                  Multimedia

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                                  Contact

                                  Department of Nutrition and Food Safety