The Safe Food Imperative : Accelerating Progress In Low- And Middle-Income Countries

The World Bank
Steven Jaffee, Spencer Henson, Laurian Unnevehr, Delia Grace, and Emilie Cassou

This book from the World Bank presents the landscape of food safety, particularly in low and middle income countries (LMICs), and is relevant for policymakers, development practitioners, public health professionals, economists, and private sector groups. It provides clear evidence that unsafe food undermines food and nutritional security, imposes costs on the food economy and public health system, and disrupts international trade. Of note is the fact that the global burden of foodborne disease falls disproportionately on children under age five and on the populations of LMICs. 

Chapters in this book cover topics including:

  • Why safe food matters to economic development
  • Evidence on the burden of unsafe food in LMICs
  • The status of food safety management in LMICs
  • Strengthening food safety management systems
  • The way forward

The Safe Food Imperative argues that much of the health and economic burden of unsafe food can be avoided through preventive measures, investments, and behavioral changes adopted from farm to fork. It draws attention to policies and approaches that governments can use to invest wisely in food safety, to better leverage private initiatives, and to engage effectively with consumers. The analysis provided and recommendations for actions are relevant for stakeholders for public and private sectors, and are broken down for countries at different levels of economic development.

Some of the key highlights from the book include: 

  • Unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies US$110 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses each year.
  • Preventative measures—including greater investment, better regulatory frameworks and measures that promote behavior change—can help countries avoid food safety problems.
  • An inclusive approach to food safety management that makes food safety a shared responsibility among government, farmers, food businesses and consumers will be most effective.
This resource has been peer reviewed