World Health Organization

World Health Organization – Malnutrition

Freedom from hunger and malnutrition is among the fundamental rights of every human being. There can be no sound social and economic development without adequate food and nutrition. This is not the same as saying that people in rich countries necessarily have a better chance of being properly nourished than do people in poor countries.

To meet the continuously growing food demand, food production in case of either agricultural or animal/livestock products is intensified or industrialized throughout the world.

Food safety has become a great concern and is presenting new opportunities and challenges for food technologists. Food safety is also affected by climatic changes including temperature that can render the food unsafe for human consumption by increasing the risks associated with food production, storage, and distribution.

It is estimated that about two million casualties take place every year only from foodborne and waterborne diarrheal disease in which most of them are children.

Disease Detection

In general, the World Health Organization or WHO is working in multiple areas to ensure safe and ample food supply globally by adopting various measures such as aiding in detection and management of foodborne diseases by generating data on diseases, supporting implementation of infrastructure, promoting safe food handling, educating food handlers and consumers on hygiene, and controlling microbiological risks by providing guidelines on risk assessment, management, and communication of chemical hazards.

The WHO also defines the critical exposure levels to chemical hazards to ensure the safety of the public, which forms the base for drafting and setting the national and international food safety standards; it serves two causes, that is, to protect the consumers and also help in implementing fair trade practices.

It also has set limits for usage of antimicrobials in foods to avoid overexposure of drugs in consumers.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The World Health Organization also strives continuously in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for advancement of food technology and safety, and then, the WHO provides scientific advice on the assessments of food and food products that have been produced by using technological advancements such as genetic modification and nanotechnology to its member states.

International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN)

With the advancement of food technology and modern manufacturing techniques, chances of contaminations rendering the food unsafe have also increased; in order to cater the needs related to food safety, the World Health Organization has established International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), with whom it helps to manage food safety risks to its member states and ensures that the information pertaining to food safety is read throughout them.

During food safety emergencies, INFOSAN along with the WHO helps to identify and stop the supply of contaminated food from one country to another among its member states. In August 2014, decisions were taken for linking the activities of INFOSAN with other food safety programs in the region and must also be bridged with the IHR (2005).

Global Targets

It states that food safety and nutrition are inextricably linked, particularly in places where food supplies are insecure. It is observed that with rise in food scarcity, the chances of manufactures to ignore hygiene, safety, and nutrition increase.

Less availability of good food makes people shift to less nutritious diets and consume more unsafe food, and to overcome this problem, the World Health Organization has the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, which has set global targets 2025 for improving maternal, infant, and young child nutrition.

The targets include the Healthy Growth Project, aiming at a 40% reduction in the number of children under age of 5 years who are stunted, and the Iron Deficiency Anemia Project, targeting a 50% reduction of anemia in women of reproductive age.

Other goals across the agenda include care of the preterm/low-birth-weight infants: reducing low birth weight by 30%, increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months up to at least 50%, and reducing and maintaining childhood wasting to <5%.

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