The safe food imperative: Accelerating progress in low- and middle-income countries
This report (PDF) by the World Bank strengthens the economic case for increased public investment and other policy attention on food safety in developing countries. Among developing countries, there is limited understanding of the wider-ranging socio-economic costs of unsafe food and the benefits of remedial or preventative measures. Due to this, many countries underinvest in food safety or invest inefficiently in reaction to serious outbreak of foodborne illness, other food scares or trade interruptions. For many countries experiencing rapid urbanization and dietary challenges, the growing complexity of food safety hazards is outpacing if not overwhelming prevailing food safety management capacity – both in government and supply chains. A significant share of food safety problems and associated costs can be avoidable if a concerted set of preventive measures are put in place. Food safety needs to become a shared responsibility. The most crucial roles for governments is to be facilitative: induce investments and behaviour changes by actors that share the goal and responsibility for safer food. This inclusive concept of food safety management may require a paradigm shift in how emerging countries approach food safety regulation. Governments of low- and middle-income countries need to invest in food safety in a smart way: with clear purpose and tracking impact of interventions. Investments should also address environmental health issues and public health systems. Recommendations for national governments is a two-set: 1) Effective policy frameworks to govern food safety, emphasizing the adoption of both systems and inclusive concepts of food safety management. 2) For better implementation, guidance is offered for reforming food safety regulatory practices. The report also includes recommendations for different stakeholders, emphasizing core principless and reflecting what is most important and feasible for countries at different levels of economic development and food system modernization. More specific priorities and action plans will need to be determined and created by stakeholders at country or regional level.