'Supermarketization,' food environments, and the urban poor

Food safety and better nutrition are real and serious challenges facing billions of people in low- and middle-income countries worldwide in urban and rural settings.

Addressing both these issues is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to ending hunger. But they compete for attention, priority and resources from governments, consumers, and people involved throughout the food system. Moreover, sometimes, actions taken to improve one objective occur at the expense or detriment of the other.

Throughout Asia, food safety, which relates to risk of illness from foods and drinks consumed, is a real problem. It stems mainly from contamination with biological pathogens during unhygienic food handling and preparation, including the use of dirty water, chemical agents from excessive use of pesticides, antibiotics and preservatives, or insufficient processing and storage methods that can lead to deteriorating food quality and increase exposure to pathogens.

Photo credit: Andrew Nguyen/ILRI