A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali

A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

Livelihoods advisers and other interested development professionals can now benefit from a new learning resource on food safety in developing countries. It was written by Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and published by Evidence on Demand, an international development information hub supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The learning resource, Food safety in developing countries: An overview, aims to provide ‘non-food safety experts’ with a good understanding of foodborne disease within the broader context of ‘development’ discussions. It assumes that readers already have a solid grasp of international development contexts, and current development discourse.

It is presented in three 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 domestic markets.