Frontiers special edition spotlights CGIAR research on food safety in low- and middle-income countries

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A special edition of the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems has brought together expert perspectives on the status of food safety in low- and middle-income countries, including the latest evidence on the burden of foodborne disease at national and sub-national levels, with over half of the 24 papers in the edition featuring research by CGIAR scientists and partners.

The health burden of foodborne disease is comparable with that of malaria, and over 90% of this burden falls on people in low- and middle-income countries, with an economic burden of 115 billion United States dollars per year.

While understanding of food safety in domestic markets of low- and middle-income countries has advanced greatly, evidence gaps have remained in the areas of risk assessment and risk management.

The research papers in this special edition contribute towards closing this gap, with a range of research evidence on foodborne disease prioritisation, risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication, as well as recommendations for policy, practice and further research.

The editors are Delia Grace of the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Bassirou Bonfoh of Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, Barbara Häsler of Royal Veterinary College, London and Hung Nguyen-Viet of ILRI.

“The research topic highlights the diversity of informal markets and the differing needs of stakeholders in these value chains, which is a challenge in terms of scalability,” the editors said.

“Successful interventions are emerging and future research should focus more on solutions especially in terms of scale and sustainability,” they added.

Most of the papers (14) were from Africa, which has the highest per capita burden of foodborne disease, followed by Asia (8), which has the highest overall burden of foodborne disease.

Most studies were on animal-source foods (17) followed by vegetables (5).

Risk assessment predominated (16 papers), followed by risk management (7 papers) and only one paper focused on risk communication.

Photo credit: Fruit and vegetable shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (University of Florida/Geraldine Klarenberg)

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