In the pursuit of improved nutrition, food safety is a non-negotiable

7 June 2023 - 

GAIN’s mission is to improve the consumption of nutritious and safe food for all people, especially those most vulnerable to malnutrition. As a nutrition organisation, we understand food safety to be a core component of our mission and our ability to achieve healthier diets. Safe food is essential for food security and nutrition, and it affects everything from what consumers eat, to their livelihoods, and their families’ health. 

Food safety is a global issue affecting millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 600 million people fall ill each year after eating unsafe food, and an estimated 420,000 die from foodborne diseases. The burden of foodborne illnesses is particularly high for vulnerable populations, like children, and disproportionately affects low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), where food safety standards are often lacking or not enforced. 

This year, GAIN is proud to support World Food Safety Day and its 2023 theme, “Food standards save lives”. The importance of food safety standards cannot be overstated. They provide a framework for ensuring that food is safe for consumption and to help prevent foodborne illnesses. Food standards can also help to promote fair trade practices and protect public health. Our global partnerships with WHO and Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) are designed to make this theme a reality through our joint work, such as the development of food safety guidelines for traditional food markets

At GAIN, we are committed to improving food safety through various initiatives. Our Large-Scale Food Fortification programme prioritises food safety and quality to ensure good manufacturing practices in nutritious food value chains. Under GAIN’s flagship food safety programme, Feed The Future’s EatSafe: Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food, we aim to improve food safety in traditional markets by focusing on behavior change and demand generation. As traditional markets are where the majority of low-and middle-income consumers access food, EatSafe works with market stakeholders to build standards around best practices to improve food safety. 

Achieving optimal health and nutrition requires people to be both well-nourished and unexposed to foodborne hazards. At GAIN, we are proud to support World Food Safety Day and to continue working towards a world where everyone everywhere has access to safe and nutritious food. 

Watch GAIN's Interview Cruncher "Beyond Compliance: Food safety standards save lives" for an in-depth discussion of the critical role that food standards play in ensuring food safety beyond basic compliance.