Addressing food safety questions along the value chain

Foodborne disease is a significant threat to global health, and food safety is a growing concern among consumers in low- and middle-income countries as these countries develop and incomes increase. Ensuring access to safe food, however, is complicated by the fact that our food systems are increasingly complex, with foods traveling longer distances and passing through more stages between where it is grown and where it is eaten.

Food safety is both a health issue and an economic one: Foodborne disease carries a global health burden comparable to that of malaria or tuberculosis, and affects everyone who eats food—meaning all of us. At the same time, the food system is a major source of employment worldwide, including people who grow, transport, package, sell, and prepare foods. Taking a hard line on food safety can mean excluding some of these people, whose small scale makes the adoption of recommended practices, or testing for hazards, impossible.

Photo Credit: Francois Sandrin/CIFOR