Assuring safe food systems: Policy options for a healthier food supply
This policy brief (PDF) from GLOPAN reviews food safety issues that are critical to poor and vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries, with a particular focus on their impact on healthy diets. With growing international concern over unsafe food, it is important that policies in agriculture and the food system are designed to ensure both the nutritional quality and the safety of the foods we eat. While food safety has traditionally been a health or medical matter, it is increasingly recognized as an important issue for agriculture and food systems since it influences trade, rural incomes, and purchasing power and workers productivity. There exist strong direct and indirect links between food safety and nutrition, since infections caused by food-borne pathogens can result in poor absorption of nutrients, diarrhea or impaired immune responses. In addition, malnutrition and food-born disease reinforce each other, since people who are malnourished are susceptible to infections. The policy paper concludes that an integrated set of policy actions, including regulation, surveillance, and training of individuals and organisations involved all along the food chain, is required to assure the safety of food systems and to support a healthier food supply. Clear recommendations are provided for policymakers on actions that should be taken to promote food safety, dietary quality and good nutrition simultaneously.