Food safety in India: a public health priority

Shalli Bavoria, Sahil Langeh, Lubna Ashraf Mir


Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is the key to sustain life and promote good health. It is an essential component of our survival. Healthy and nutritious food leads to a healthy workforce and hence, improving the economy of any country. Unsafe food creates a vicious circle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and sick. The food borne diseases impede socioeconomic development of any country by increasing expenditure on health system and affecting national economies, tourism and trade. Food borne illnesses are usually caused by infectious organisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoa and toxins in chemicals which contaminate food, water and soil in which food is grown. These pathogens lead to diarrhoea and other deadly diseases like meningitis. In India, majority of the outbreaks of food borne disease are unreported, unrecognized or un-investigated and may only be noticed after major health or economic damage has occurred. In such a condition controlling the outbreaks, detection and removal of foods leading to the problem, identification of the factors that contribute to the contamination, growth, survival and dissemination of the suspected agent, prevention of future outbreaks and strengthening of food safety policies and programmes is not possible.


Safe food, Foodborne illness

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