WHO: 125,000 child deaths annually due to contaminated food

GENEVA, 6th December, 2015 (WAM) -- Contaminated food kills 420,000 people each year, more than one-third of them children under five-years old, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has reported.

WHO released its first-ever estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases which it says are most severe in low and middle-income countries. These illnesses are linked to several factors, including preparing food with unsafe water, but also poor hygiene and inadequate conditions in food production and storage.

Foodborne diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals. The WHO reports that 600 million people worldwide fall ill each year from eating contaminated food. Some foodborne diseases only last a short time, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, commonly referred to as food poisoning. Others, such as cancer, renal failure and arthritis, can be long-term or even deadly.

WHO said children under five are particularly at high risk, as 125,000 die each year from contaminated food.