WHO Handbook on Foodborne Diseases

World Health Organization (WHO) released a handbook to assess the burden of foodborne diseases and locate data gaps which will help in strengthening health infrastructure.

Foodborne Diseases Burden

  • As per the WHO’s estimate of 2015, about 600 million people are affected by foodborne diseases every year. It accounts for infection among 1 in 10 people worldwide.
  • About 120,000 children under five years die after consuming unsafe food. This accounts for 30 percent of total foodborne deaths per year.
  • Diarrhoeal diseases accounts for half of global burden of foodborne diseases. It causes illness in 550 million people and 230,000 deaths per year.
  • Children have high risk of foodborne diarrhoeal diseases. It causes 220 million illness and 96,000 deaths among them.
  • Diarrhoea is caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, fresh produce, eggs and dairy products which are contaminated by norovirus, Campylobacter, pathogenic E coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella.

Which regions have highest burden?

As per WHO report, African and South-East Asia Regions have highest burden of foodborne diseases.


World Health Assembly had adopted a new resolution and mandated WHO to monitor global burden of foodborne & zoonotic diseases at national, regional & international level. It asked WHO to report on global burden of foodborne diseases with estimates of global foodborne disease burden, mortality etc by 2025.


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