This resource has been put together to help livelihoods advisers and
other interested development professionals critically think through the
issues concerning food safety in developing countries. The aim is to
engage readers unfamiliar with the subject and to refresh and update
knowledge on food safety for others. It is hoped that the material will
provide ‘non-food safety experts’ with a good understanding of foodborne
disease within the broader context of ‘development’ discussions. It is
assumed that readers already have a solid grasp of international
development contexts, and current development discourse.
Foodborne diseases (FBD) can be defined as any illness caused by
ingesting contaminated food or drink. The most common clinical
presentation of foodborne diseases is gastrointestinal symptoms, but
foodborne diseases can also lead to chronic, life-threatening symptoms
including neurological, gynaecological or immunological disorders as
well as multi-organ failure, cancer and death.
The material presented in this resource reviews foodborne disease in
developing countries. It covers the following:
- the likely burden of foodborne disease;
- the importance of foodborne disease to developing countries;
- the causes of foodborne disease and the most risky foods;
- trends in foodborne disease; and
- the management of foodborne disease.
It is presented in 3 main sections:
Part 1 will help readers to understand what is meant by foodborne
disease and its impact. It summarises current best evidence and
knowledge gaps on foodborne disease in developing countries.
Part 2 summarises some of the interventions for managing food safety and
stimulates thinking about the “so what” questions. It shows that
foodborne disease is preventable.
Part 3 covers food trends and drivers that affect food safety in
developing countries in more detail. It also reviews the geography of
food safety and how this impacts on people who are poor, and looks at
what food safety means for: small farmers, export industries, women, the
most vulnerable people, and for nutrition.
The conclusions presented at the end capture what the current best
evidence is telling us:
- Food safety has been neglected in developing countries. There is
growing evidence that foodborne disease may be an important
contributor to gastrointestinal disease.
- Foodborne disease has been increasing in developed countries and is
likely to increase in developing countries.
- Foodborne disease is not just a health issue. Already a major
determinant of export market access, it is increasingly affecting
This peer reviewed learning resource has been produced by the
International Livestock Research Institute in partnership with Evidence
on Demand and with the assistance of the UK Department for International
Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment,
Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied
Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by DAI
(incorporating HTSPE Limited) and IMC Worldwide Limited.
Grace, D. Food safety in developing countries: an overview. Evidence on Demand, UK (2015) 83 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_er.oct2015.graced]