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The Global Food Crisis

By: Cecil Glass


Food borne diseases are a widespread and growing health concern, in both developed and undeveloped countries. Global incidences of food borne diseases are hard to estimate each year, but experts are keeping watch of the situations involving food borne illnesses. In 2005 alone 1.8 million people died from diarrhoeal diseases. A great proportion of the cases can most likely be traced back to contaminated water and food. In industrialized countries, the percentage of people suffering from food borne disease each year has been reported up to the 30% range. In the U.S. for example, around 76 million cases of food borne diseases resulting in 350,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths are estimated in a year. If this is happening in the millions in a very developed and advanced country what dare I say is happening in undeveloped countries? While less documented by the countries, less developed countries bere the problem due to the presence of a wide range of food borne illnesses, including those caused by parasites. The high rate of diarroel diseases in many developing countries suggests major underlying problems in food distributaries and health care. While most food borne diseases are sporadic and often not reported, food borne disease outbreaks may take on massive proportions. Some of the most common food borne diseases reported is Campylobacter, Cholera, Salmonella, E. coli, 0157:H7, and Calicivirusor Norwalk-like virus. Other food safety problems are naturally occurring toxins like poisonous mushrooms, unconventional agents such as mad cow disease or P.O.P like compound produced from foods that are made up in the body, and metals such as lead or mercury. Costs of food borne diseases create major burdens for communities and their health care systems. In the U.S.A., diseases by major pathogens alone are estimated up to 35 billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.

Cecil Glass

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4/17/2012

Challenges and development in food safety, biotechnology needs to be carefully assessed. The assessment should consider health benefits as well as possible negative health implications. The weighing of potential risks and benefits is an important assessment of food derived from biotechnology that has not received much attention in the past. If not properly assessed, changes in animal husbandry practices, including feeding may have some serous implication for food safety. Modern intensive agricultural practices contribute to increasing availability of affordable food and the use of food additives can improve quality, quantity, and safety of food supply. However, some controls are necessary to ensure their proper and safe use. Pre-market review and approval followed by continuous monitoring are necessary to ensure the safe use of pesticides and veterinary drugs and food additives.

Cecil Glass

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4/17/2012