Food Hygiene

Food Hygiene – Introduction

This website/blog contains reports, studies, bibliographies on food hygiene, which is considered  synonymous with food safety. We welcome comments and suggestions for additional  resources to be added. Publications are organized in the three Categories listed below.  Click on the Categories to view/download all documents or studies in that Category.

  • Problem Areas/Points of Action
  • Interventions and Evaluations
  • IEC/Training Materials

Publications are also listed by some the the key Organizations with activities in food hygiene.

Foodborne diseases encompass a wide spectrum of illnesses and are a growing public health problem worldwide. They are the result of ingesting contaminated foodstuffs, and range from diseases caused by a multitude of microorganisms to those caused by chemical hazards.  The most common clinical presentation of foodborne diseases takes the form of gastrointestinal symptoms but such diseases can also lead to chronic, life-threatening symptoms including neurological, gynecological or immunological disorders as well as multi-organ failure, cancer and death.

Recent data from a WHO analysis has shown that diarrheal diseases kill an estimated 1.2 million people over the age of five in Southeast Asia and Africa each year.  This number represents three times more older children and adults than previously thought.  Taken together with the previously estimated 1.5 million deaths in children under five, the total mortality from diarrheal diseases exceeds deaths due to HIV, tuberculosis or malaria.  In particular, children under the age of 2, pregnant women, the elderly and those suffering from compromised immune function, such as people living with HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis,  are susceptible to illnesses and death caused by foodborne pathogens.  Although the transmission of these diseases is often attributed to contaminated water, food is likely to be important vehicle for many pathogens.  However, documentation of the main food hygiene problems for the various vulnerable groups and critical points for possible intervention need to be identified.

In this regard, documentation on interventions at the individual and community levels to improve food hygiene and reduce the incidence of foodborne diseases among the vulnerable need to be identified and evaluated.  In particular, key factors that contributed to the success of the intervention, including the proactive and systematic integration of food hygiene with the intervention, needs to be examined.

Although many developing countries have produced national health and food and nutrition policies, strategies and guidelines, and food and nutrition-related training materials and job aids for health providers and community level health volunteers, little attention is given to food hygiene in these documents and materials. There is a recognized need to strengthen the focus on food hygiene in these documents and materials for not only children under five, but also adults and other groups particularly vulnerable to these illnesses, targeting interventions and tailored messages on key problem areas to decrease vulnerability to food- and waterborne illnesses.


Written by WASHplus

June 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm