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October 10th, 2019

Food safety in low and middle-income countries: The evidence through an economic lens

Published by World Development ,

This study in World Development explored food safety issues at each stage of the value chain to identify the economic questions, practical challenges, and knowledge gaps along the way. 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. Factors identified to contribute to food safety issues include: limited consumer awareness and ability to pay for food safety; the lack of incentives to invest in food safety along the food supply chain, from farmers to aggregators, processors, food service providers, and retailers; and weakness of the public institutions responsible for regulatory enforcement. Programs that engage midsize and larger firms in co-regulation and reward farmers and firms for investment in food safety suggest potential ways forward. One lesson that can be drawn from both developed and developing countries with regard to food standards is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and policymakers will need to consider the specific of the circumstances when working to make improvements along the value chain. Alongside these efforts, researchers can help fill evidence and knowledge gaps on a variety of questions that remain outstanding,

Read more on this related blog by Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (CGIAR)

Curated from sciencedirect.com