Nutrition


World Food Safety Day is celebrated annually on 7 June to raise awareness on the importance of safe food and its contribution to healthy lives, healthy economies and a healthy future.

The theme this year is Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow. Our food systems need to produce enough safe food for all. A One Health approach to food safety that recognizes the connections between the health of people, animals and the environment will improve food safety and help meet the nutritional and health needs of the future. Indeed, there is no food security without food safety.

Food safety is everyone’s business. Governments must put in place supportive regulatory frameworks that ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all. Farmers and other food producers need to adopt good agricultural practices to prevent contamination of food products at the farm level. Business operators must make sure food is safe at all stages of processing and distribution of food products. Consumers, too, have a role to play in learning about safe and healthy food so that they are empowered to demand for access to safe food.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has a longstanding record of collaborative research on risk-based approaches to improving food safety in traditional, informal markets.

ILRI leads the food safety flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health. The main research focus is on mitigating aflatoxin contamination in key staples and on managing risks in traditional, informal markets for nutrient-rich perishables like meat, milk, fish and vegetables.

We commemorate this year’s World Food Safety Day by shining the spotlight on ILRI’s research on food safety. Listed below is a selection of recent food safety publications from collaborative research by ILRI and partners.

Hai Hoang Tuan Ngo, Luong Nguyen-Thanh, Phuc Pham-Duc, Sinh Dang-Xuan, Hang Le-Thi, Denis-Robichaud, J., Hung Nguyen-Viet, Trang T.H. Le, Grace, D. and Unger, F. 2021. Microbial contamination and associated risk factors in retailed pork from key value chains in Northern Vietnam. International Journal of Food Microbiology 346: 109163.

Murungi, M.K., Muloi, D.M., Muinde, P., Githigia, S.M., Akoko, J., Fèvre, E.M., Rushton, J. and Alarcon, P. 2021. The Nairobi pork value chain: Mapping and assessment of governance, challenges, and food safety issues. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8: 581376.

Rortana, C., Hung Nguyen-Viet, Tum, S., Unger, F., Boqvist, S., Sinh Dang-Xuan, Koam, S., Grace, D., Osbjer, K., Heng, T., Sarim, S., Phirum, O., Sophia, R. and Lindahl, J.F. 2021. Prevalence of Salmonella spp. and Staphylococcus aureus in chicken meat and pork from Cambodian markets. Pathogens 10(5): 556.

Mutua, F., Kang’ethe, E. and Grace, D. 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for food safety in East Africa. ILRI Discussion Paper 40. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute). 2021. Keeping foods safe leads to healthier people, livestock and environment. Livestock pathways to 2030: One Health Brief 4. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Mutua, F. 2021. Food safety in One Health. Video. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Join the online conversations by following the hashtags #FoodSafety, #SafeFood and #WorldFoodSafetyDay.

Photo credit: World Health Organization

There is a need for better understanding of how food systems operate in order to effectively address food safety and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries, says a new review paper.

The review published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Apr 2021) proposes that countries and international institutions provide an atlas of food system maps for key food commodities. This will help to fill current knowledge gaps in food system mapping and governance.

The review by scientists from the Royal Veterinary College, the University of Greenwich, the University of Liverpool and the International Livestock Research Institute presents the state of knowledge on existing methods of studying food systems towards improving food safety and nutrition.

The review found that food systems analyses vary widely in scope and quality, with most concentrating on specific food commodities as opposed to adopting a whole-diet approach when looking at nutrition or assessing a range of infectious agents when looking at food safety.

In the area of food safety, in-depth assessments of food systems can complement risk analysis to identify risky behaviours, understand institutional settings and improve codes of practice and enforcement. There is a challenge, however, in the area of nutrition, as existing tools on nutrition and food systems science are not yet being merged. 

Addressing food safety and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries will require better understanding of the drivers of the food systems and incorporation of codes of practice and enforcement which ensure access to safe and nutritious food.

It is also important to recognize that food systems are integral to health and thus ensure that food systems policy is aligned with health policy. This calls for interdisciplinary research on food systems encompassing consumption behaviour, value chain analysis, policy analysis, nutrition science and gender research.

Citation

Alarcon, P., Dominguez-Salas, P., Fèvre, E.M. and Rushton J. 2021. The importance of a food systems approach to low and middle income countries and emerging economies: A review of theories and its relevance for disease control and malnutrition. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 5: 642635.

Photo credit: Pulses on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg)

Open Access Week 2020 banner. Open with purpose: Taking action to build structural equity and inclusion. October 19-25.

International Open Access Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about open access publishing of research outputs to enable their universal online accessibility. Research outputs are wide-ranging and include articles in peer-reviewed journals, books, book chapters, conference proceedings, infographics, presentations, posters, reports, theses and videos.

The theme of this year’s Open Access Week (19–25 October) is ‘Open with purpose: taking action to build structural equity and inclusion’.

The Animal and Human Health program of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to effectively manage or eliminate livestock, zoonotic and foodborne diseases that matter to the poor through the generation and use of knowledge, technologies and products, leading to higher farmer incomes and better health and nutrition for consumers and livestock.

To celebrate Open Access Week 2020, we bring you a curated selection of recently published open access outputs authored and co-authored by scientists from ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program from across our research portfolio on antimicrobial resistance, food safety, One Health and zoonotic diseases.

Book chapters

  • Bett, B., Randolph, D. and McDermott, J. 2020. Africa’s growing risk of diseases that spread from animals to people. In: Swinnen, J. and McDermott, J. (eds), COVID-19 and global food security. Washington, D.C.: IFPRI. pp. 124–128. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108990
  • Kang’ethe, E., Grace, D., Alonso, S., Lindahl, J., Mutua, F. and Haggblade, S. 2020. Food safety and public health implications of growing urban food markets. In: AGRA, Africa Agriculture Status Report. Feeding Africa’s cities: Opportunities, challenges, and policies for linking African farmers with growing urban food markets. Issue 8. Nairobi, Kenya: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA): 101–119. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109386

Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • Ferguson, A.W., Muloi, D., Ngatia, D.K., Kiongo, W., Kimuyu, D.M., Webala, P.W., Olum, M.O., Muturi, M., Thumbi, S.M., Woodroffe, R., Murugi, L., Fèvre, E.M., Murray, S. and Martins, D.J. 2020. Volunteer based approach to dog vaccination campaigns to eliminate human rabies: Lessons from Laikipia County, Kenya. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 14(7): e0008260. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108692
  • Hu Suk Lee, Vuong Nghia Bui, Huyen Xuan Nguyen, Anh Ngoc Bui, Trung Duc Hoang, Hung Nguyen-Viet, Randolph, D.G. and Wieland, B. 2020. Seroprevalences of multi-pathogen and description of farm movement in pigs in two provinces in Vietnam. BMC Veterinary Research 16: 15. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/106618 
  • Kemboi, D.C., Antonissen, G., Ochieng, P.E., Croubels, S., Okoth, S., Kang’ethe, E.K., Faas, J., Lindahl, J.F. and Gathumbi, J.K. 2020. A review of the impact of mycotoxins on dairy cattle health: Challenges for food safety and dairy production in sub-Saharan Africa. Toxins 12(4): 222. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108030
  • Kivali, V., Kiyong’a, A.N., Fyfe, J., Toye, P., Fèvre, E.M. and Cook, E.A.J. 2020. Spatial distribution of trypanosomes in cattle from western Kenya. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7: 554. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109133
  • Kiyong’a, A.N., Cook, E.A.J., Okba, N.M.A., Kivali, V., Reuksen, C., Haagmans, B.L. and Fèvre, E.M. 2020. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) seropositive camel handlers in Kenya. Viruses 12(4): 396. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/107946
  • Long Pham-Thanh, Magnusson, U., Minh Can-Xuan, Hung Nguyen-Viet, Lundkvist, Å. and Lindahl, J. 2020. Livestock development in Hanoi city, Vietnam—Challenges and policies. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7: 566. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109404
  • Mitchell, M.E.V., Alders, R., Unger, F., Hung Nguyen-Viet, Trang Thi Huyen Le and Toribio, J.-A. 2020. The challenges of investigating antimicrobial resistance in Vietnam – what benefits does a One Health approach offer the animal and human health sectors? BMC Public Health 20: 213. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/107087 
  • Mutua, F., Sharma, G., Grace, D., Bandyopadhyay, S., Shome, B. and Lindahl, J. 2020. A review of animal health and drug use practices in India, and their possible link to antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 9: 103. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108734
  • Njenga, M.K., Ogolla, E., Thumbi, S.M., Ngere, I., Omulo, S., Muturi, M., Marwanga, D., Bitek, A., Bett, B., Widdowson, M.-A., Munyua, P. and Osoro, E.M. 2020. Comparison of knowledge, attitude, and practices of animal and human brucellosis between nomadic pastoralists and non-pastoralists in Kenya. BMC Public Health 20: 269. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/107419
  • Wernli, D., Jørgensen, P.S., Parmley, E.J., Troell, M., Majowicz, S., Harbarth, S., Léger, A., Lambraki, I., Graells, T., Henriksson, P.J.G., Carson, C., Cousins, M., Ståhlgren, G.S., Mohan, C.V., Simpson, A.J.H., Wieland, B., Pedersen, K., Schneider, A., Chandy, S.J., Wijayathilaka, T.P., Delamare-Deboutteville, J., Vila, J., Lundborg, C.S. and Pittet, D. 2020. Evidence for action: A One Health learning platform on interventions to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Lancet Infectious Diseases. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109151

Infographic

  • Grace, D., Alonso, S., Mutua, F., Hoffmann, V., Lore, T. and Karugia, J. 2020. Food safety in Kenya: Focus on dairy. Infographic. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109143

Presentations and posters

  • Diarra, S., Dione, M., Konkobo-Yameogo, C., Ilboudo, G., Roesel, K., Lallogo, V.R., Ouattara, L. and Knight-Jones, T. 2020. Value chain assessment of animal source foods and vegetables in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Food safety, quality and hygiene perceptions and practices. Presentation at a project webinar, 20 May 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108633
  • Hung Nguyen-Viet, Unger, F., Hu Suk Lee, Lindahl, J., Thang Nguyen, Bett, B., Fèvre, E., Tum, S., Sinh Dang Xuan, Moodley, A. and Grace, D. 2020. One Health research at the International Livestock Research Institute to address neglected tropical diseases, zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases in Southeast Asia. Presentation at a webinar by the One Health Collaborating Center Universitas Gadjah Mada, ‘World Zoonoses Day 2020: Lessons learned and future directions’, 7 July 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108791
  • Lindahl, J., Mutua, F. and Grace, D. 2020. Livestock interventions in low-income countries: A theory of change for improved nutrition. Poster presentation at the virtual 2020 Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week research conference, 30 June–2 July 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108715
  • Wieland, B., Moodley, A., Mbatidde, I., Ndoboli, D., Tenhagen, B.-A., Roesler, U., Erechu, R., Litta-Mulondo, A., Kakooza, S., Waiswa, J. and Kankya, C. 2020. Mitigating agriculture-associated antimicrobial resistance in poultry value chains in Uganda. Poster presented at the virtual annual planning meeting of the Boosting Uganda’s Investment in Livestock Development (BUILD) project, 10–12 June 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108689

Project report

  • Blackmore, E., Guarín, A., Alonso, S., Grace, D. and Vorley, B. 2020. Informal milk markets in Kenya, Tanzania and Assam (India): An overview of their status, policy context, and opportunities for policy innovation to improve health and safety. ILRI Research Report. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/109797

Research briefs

  • Lam, S., Huyen Thi Thu Nguyen, Hung Nguyen-Viet and Unger, F. 2020. Mapping pathways toward safer pork in Vietnam. ILRI Research Brief 95. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108768
  • Nguyen Thi Thinh, Grace, D., Pham Van Hung, Le Thi Thanh Huyen, Hung Nguyen Viet, Sinh Dang-Xuan, Nguyen Thi Duong Nga, Nguyen Thanh Luong, Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, Pham Duc Phuc and Unger, F. 2020. Food safety performance in key pork value chains in Vietnam. ILRI Research Brief 94. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108320
  • Pham Duc Phuc, Toribio, J.-A., Ngo Hoang Tuan Hai, Sinh Dang-Xuan, Nguyen Thanh Luong, Langley, S.J., Dunham, J.G., Dinh Thanh Thuy, Dang Vu Hoa, Hung Nguyen-Viet, Grace, D. and Unger, F. 2020. Food safety risk communication and training need of stakeholders and consumers regarding pork value chain in Vietnam. ILRI Research Brief 96. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/108769

Videos

Photo credit: International Open Access Week website

A4NH 2019 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has just released its 2019 annual report, highlighting activities and accomplishments from its five research flagships, cross-cutting work on gender and equity, and partnerships that have led to research outcomes in over 20 countries.

These include:

  • empowering stakeholders at national level to build food systems that support healthier diets;
  • generating research evidence on the nutritional and health benefits of biofortification;
  • supporting international developments in food safety with quality research and engagement;
  • engaging in global conversations on food systems, nutrition and diets; and
  • linking research and policy to achieve results on critical zoonotic diseases.

Access the A4NH 2019 annual report or read the interactive online summary.

Photo credit: International Food Policy Research Institute

Aflatoxin research at the BecA-ILRI Hub (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

The Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) program has called for a third round of applications for its competitive research grants. 

The research grants are aimed at accelerating the development of innovative and interdisciplinary methods, metrics and tools to advance scientific understanding of the linkages between agriculture and food systems and health and nutrition outcomes, in order to better inform policy and programmatic actions to improve nutrition outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.

This workstream of the IMMANA program is led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. So far, 15 research grants of up to £250,000 have been awarded over two rounds (Round 1 and Round 2). There will be two funding rounds (Rounds 3 and 4) for the IMMANA Phase 2 grants. Each IMMANA grant will be a maximum of £250,000 and up to eight grants are expected to be awarded through a competitive selection process in each round (total of 16). Applications for Round 3 grants are now open.

For more information about eligibility, the selection process and timelines, visit https://immana.lcirah.ac.uk/grants.

Photo credit: Aflatoxin research at the BecA-ILRI Hub (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

On World Food Day 2019, we highlight a recent article by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute that summarizes the current state of knowledge on the role of livestock products for nutrition, with emphasis on the first 1000 days of life for individuals living in low-income countries.

Meat, milk and eggs are nutrient-rich products that could efficiently boost nutrient-poor diets either as part of the normal diet or if access is increased through interventions.

The article, published in the journal Animal Frontiers (Oct 2019), considers the nutritional importance of livestock products, the evidence base for their impact on health and nutrition, and the major externalities concerned with their production.

The authors note that promoting the intake of livestock products among resource-limited populations will require specific feasibility and sustainability studies to be conducted to ensure those foods are available and affordable to the target populations.

Citation
Alonso, S., Dominguez-Salas, P. and Grace, D. 2019. The role of livestock products for nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. Animal Frontiers 9(4): 24–31. https://doi.org/10.1093/af/vfz033

Photo credit: An Ethiopian smallholder dairy farmer in the country’s Ghibe Valley (ILRI/Apollo Habtamu)

CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health 2018 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2018 annual report, highlighting program activities and research results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and five focus countries. These include:

  • research into consumer choices, motives and barriers through the lens of vegetable consumption in urban Nigeria;
  • building the evidence base with newly-published research that shows biofortified high-iron pearl millet can significantly improve nutrition and cognitive performance;
  • significant research contributions to help policymakers and consumers understand food safety issues and risks;
  • how agriculture and nutrition interventions delivered through community-based childcare centres can impact nutrient intake, dietary diversity and nutritional status;
  • improving hospital diagnostics for human brucellosis; and
  • an exploration of gender research projects being conducted under A4NH.

Photo credit: International Food Policy Research Institute

Typical milk bar in Kenya

One of Kenya’s many ‘milk bars’ (photo credit: ILRI/Dave Elsworth).

Training of milk vendors in Kenya’s informal dairy sector could be a pathway to progressively bring the informal sector under the food safety regulatory systems, says a new study by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Institute for Development and Environment.

The informal dairy sector in Kenya contributes to nutrition security, health and livelihoods. However, concerns over milk safety have seen the sector de-legitimized. Training and capacity-building of those operating in the sector has the potential to deliver on multiple development outcomes, over and above improved food safety.

The study, which is published in Global Food Security (September 2018), examined the incentives and challenges to operating in the informal dairy sector in two urban areas in Kenya (Eldoret and Kisumu) and the perceived benefits and socio-economics effects of training. A survey of informal dairy vendors and testing of milk was also carried out in the two regions to assess milk safety and handling practices and their relation to training.

It was noted that the informal dairy sector in Kenya is an important source of livelihood opportunities, especially for women. Training of milk vendors improved sales, reduced milk losses and helped expand the businesses of vendors; however, the long-term effects of training on milk quality are not evident. Accessibility and clear incentives to participate in training could maximize impact and sustainability.

Based on this qualitative assessment, it is recommended that rigorous scientific studies be conducted to confirm and measure the magnitude of those impacts on health, nutrition and societal outcomes derived from training and capacity building activities in the informal dairy sector.

Access the journal article, Beyond food safety: Socio-economic effects of training informal dairy vendors in Kenya

Citation
Alonso, S., Muunda, E., Ahlberg, S., Blackmore, E. and Grace, D. 2018. Beyond food safety: Socio-economic effects of training informal dairy vendors in Kenya. Global Food Security 18: 86–92.

A4NH 2017 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2017 annual report which highlights the program’s accomplishments and activities during the first year of its second phase.

Detailed in the report are research, events and results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and four focus countries, including:

  • in-depth analyses of food systems in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam, with a recently released report on findings in Ethiopia;
  • details on the release of 29 new biofortified crop varieties, extending reach to 3.6 million farming households;
  • the first licence for Aflasafe to be granted to a private company in Africa, for production, sale, and distribution in the Gambia and Senegal to protect crops from aflatoxin;
  • a special issue of the journal Global Food Security dedicated to stories of change, an innovative initiative building a resource base of experiential knowledge that explores drivers of change in improving nutrition;
  • research into how rice intensification in Africa can be achieved without increasing the risk of malaria; and
  • efforts on incorporating equity into A4NH’s research agenda.

Download the annual report or read an interactive online version.

ILRI news

Cover of a new report,The influence of livestock-derived foods on nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, by Delia Grace, Paula Dominguez-Salas, Silvia Alonso, Mats Lannerstad, Emmanuel Muunda and Nicholas Ngwili, all of ILRI, and Abbas Omar, Mishal Khan and Eloghene Otobo of Chatham House, 2018, ILRI Research Report 44. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

There is great potential for

food produced from livestock

to contribute to better health

in low-income populations.

—Review by the International Livestock Research Institute
and the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security

Global efforts to limit or reduce

the consumption of meat, milk and eggs

over environmental concerns

should exclude pregnant and breastfeeding women

and babies under the age of two,

especially in low-income settings

where other sources of protein and micronutrients

are not available or not customarily used.

An extensive review of research found demonstrable nutritional benefits of providing children, particularly in…

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