Fruit and vegetable shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: University of Florida/Geraldine Klarenberg)

The World Health Organization estimates that every year, 600 million people become ill and many die because of unsafe food. Up to 38% of those affected are children under five years of age, and 53% were people living in low- and middle-income countries.

To address this gap, the Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food (EatSafe) project recently organized an EatSafe Innovation Challenge aimed at encouraging the development of food safety solutions or safer food products towards improving food safety in traditional markets where most consumers in low- and middle-income countries access their food.

On Tuesday 13 December 2022, the EatSafe project will host a webinar to highlight the importance of innovative solutions in food safety, and their applicability to low- and middle-income countries, specifically in traditional markets and along the food value chain.

This webinar is the second part of a series on innovative approaches to food safety. The first webinar, held in January 2022, featured consumer-centred approaches to food safety research.

In this second webinar, speakers will share on the application, implementation and practice of innovative solutions for food safety, including highlights from finalists of the EatSafe Innovation Challenge.

Below are details of the hour-long webinar and how to register.

Date: Tuesday 13 December 2022

Time: 0800 hours EST / 1400 hours CET / 1600 hours EAT

Registration link: https://bit.ly/food_safetywebinar 

Speakers

  • Delia Grace, Professor of Food Safety Systems, Natural Resources Institute and Joint-appointed Scientist, International Livestock Research Institute
  • Helen Weldemichael, CEO, Safe Dish Ethiopia and Assistant Professor, Wolkite University
  • Oyeyemi Fadairo, Project Lead, Solarflex Dryers
  • Richard Pluke, Chief of Party, EatSafe project

EatSafe is a project of Feed the Future and the United States Agency for International Development.

Photo credit: Fruit and vegetable shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (University of Florida/Geraldine Klarenberg)

Photo credit: Chickens on a poultry farm in Kiambu County, Kenya (ILRI/Hung Nguyen-Viet)

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is marked annually from 18 to 24 November to raise global awareness on antimicrobial resistance and encourage rational use of antimicrobials to reduce further emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

Antimicrobial resistance is currently one of the biggest threats to global public health. Researchers have estimated that bacterial antimicrobial resistance caused 1.2 million deaths in 2019.

Two-thirds of the global increase in antimicrobial use is from the agricultural sector. Rational use of animal health products, particularly antibiotics, should therefore be promoted as one of the strategies to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

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.

Our research approach to improving flock and herd health in smallholder systems promotes the rational use of antibiotics. To this end, we work with national, regional and international partners to carry out research on antimicrobial resistance at the human–livestock interface.

To celebrate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022, under the theme Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together, we feature a curated selection of recent research outputs on antimicrobial resistance authored and co-authored by scientists from ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Conference posters and presentations

For more information, contact Arshnee Moodley (a.moodley@cgiar.org), antimicrobial resistance team leader at ILRI, or visit the CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub website.

Join the online conversations by following the hashtags #AntimicrobialResistance and #WAAW.

Photo credit: Chickens on a poultry farm in Kiambu County, Kenya (ILRI/Hung Nguyen-Viet)

Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg).

Foodborne disease is a significant global health problem, with low- and middle-income countries disproportionately affected. Given that most fresh animal and vegetable foods in these countries are bought in informal food systems, much of the burden of foodborne disease here is also linked to informal markets.

Developing estimates of the national burden of foodborne disease and attribution to specific food products will inform decision-makers about the size of the problem and motivate action to mitigate risks and prevent illness.

A new research study, published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Nov 2022), provides estimates for the burden of foodborne disease caused by selected hazards in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia and attribution to specific foods.

Country-specific estimates of the burden of disease in 2010 for Campylobacter spp., enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) and updated to 2017 using data from the Global Burden of Disease study.

Attribution data obtained from WHO were complemented with a dedicated Structured Expert Judgement study to estimate the burden attributable to specific foods. Monte Carlo simulation methods were used to propagate uncertainty.

The burden of foodborne disease in the two countries in 2010 was largely similar to the burden in the region except for higher mortality and disability-adjusted life years due to Salmonella in Burkina Faso.

In both countries, Campylobacter caused the largest number of cases, while Salmonella caused the largest number of deaths and disability-adjusted life years.

In Burkina Faso, the burden of Campylobacter and enterotoxigenic E. coli increased from 2010 to 2017, while the burden of Salmonella decreased.

In Ethiopia, the burden of all hazards decreased. Mortality decreased relative to incidence in both countries.

In both countries, the burden of poultry meat (in disability-adjusted life years) was larger than the burden of vegetables.

In Ethiopia, the burdens of beef and dairy were similar, and somewhat lower than the burden of vegetables.

The burden of foodborne disease by the selected pathogens and foods in both countries was substantial.

Uncertainty distributions around the estimates spanned several orders of magnitude.

This reflects data limitations, as well as variability in the transmission and burden of foodborne disease associated with the pathogens considered.

Citation

Havelaar, A.H., Sapp, A.C., Amaya, M.P., Nane, G.F., Morgan, K.M., Devleesschauwer, B., Grace, D., Knight-Jones, T. and Kowalcyk, B.B. 2022. Burden of foodborne disease due to bacterial hazards associated with beef, dairy, poultry meat, and vegetables in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, 2017. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 6: 1024560.

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

Scientists from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have published a new study that explores how the safety of milk and dairy products is understood and managed within the informal dairy sector of Guwahati, the largest city in Assam, northeast India.

The study, published in the journal Cogent Food & Agriculture (Oct 2022), contributes to a growing body of literature that questions negative assumptions about food safety in informal markets, and seeks to understand how access to safe and healthy food for all is, or can be, achieved in these markets.

The study combined a literature review of the informal dairy sector in Assam and India with a field survey and key informant interviews.

The survey of 113 producers, intermediaries, retailers, traditional processors and consumers, provides insights into how people think about the safety of milk, and the everyday practices they employ to mitigate food safety risks when trading and consuming dairy products.

The findings suggest that, in the absence of formal guarantees of quality and safety, consumers’ cultural practices and producers’ and traders’ knowledge likely reduce the risks of consuming raw milk.

Despite the informal dairy sector receiving little direct government support in India, the study found that at the state level, there has been some cooperation between government officials, small-scale producers and informal traders.

The authors conclude that the absence of adverse relations between these groups, together with proactive attempts at collaboration, could inform the approaches of other Indian states to food safety governance, and are a positive foundation for future improvements to food safety in Assam’s dairy sector.

Citation

Nicolini, G., Guarin, A., Deka, R.P., Vorley, B., Alonso, S., Blackmore, E. and Grace, D. 2022. Milk quality and safety in the informal sector in Assam, India: governance, perceptions, and practices. Cogent Food & Agriculture 8(1): 2137897.

Photo credit: Evening milk sales in Guwahati, Assam, India (ILRI/Susan MacMillan)

Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg).

The rapid transformation of food systems is creating unintentional infectious disease risks that will need to be addressed through effective coordination between agricultural and public health sectors, a new review study says.

A food system includes all the aspects of feeding and nourishing people: growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing and consuming food.

The review, published in Lancet Planetary Health (Sept 2022), explored how intensification of agricultural production and increasing complexity of food supply chains, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries, change the risks and relative burdens of infectious diseases.

The review covered four case studies:

  • vector-borne disease in irrigated agriculture;
  • zoonotic diseases in livestock value chains;
  • food safety; and
  • antimicrobial resistance associated with food systems. 

For each case study, the authors asked three questions:

  1. What aspects of food system transition are creating unintentional infectious disease risks?
  2. What solutions might exist for these problems?
  3. How would they require better coordination of agricultural and public health policy and practice?

Food systems in transition are characterized by intensification and diversification of food production, as an increasingly urban and more wealthy population demands different diets.

The review showed that successfully addressing the challenges of evolving food systems calls for constructive dialogue between agricultural and public health sectors.

Such a cross-sectoral approach recognises the costs and benefits of disease-reducing interventions and seeks win–win solutions that are most likely to attract broad policy support and uptake by food systems.

For areas such as antimicrobial resistance, it is important to identify the potential agricultural and health outcomes of agricultural interventions to reduce health risks.

Citation

Waage, J., Grace, D., Fèvre, E.M., McDermott, J., Lines, J., Wieland, B., Naylor, N.R., Hassell, J.M. and Chan, K. 2022. Changing food systems and infectious disease risks in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Planetary Health 6(9): e760–e768.

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

Customers at a milk bar in Ndumbuini in Kabete, Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Informal milk trading in peri-urban Nairobi plays a key role in supporting both livelihoods and nutrition, particularly among poor households. Gender dynamics affect who is involved in milk trading and who benefits from it.

To better understand gendered constraints and opportunities in informal, peri-urban dairy marketing, scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Food Policy Research Institute conducted a qualitative study in 2017 with 45 men and 50 women milk traders in Dagoretti, a peri-urban area in Nairobi, Kenya. The study is published in Gender, Technology and Development (27 Jun 2022).

The findings show that milk trading is more lucrative for older men than for women and younger men among the respondents. The study delves into the reasons behind the observed differences in the experiences of women and men as informal milk traders. The study also discusses the implications of the findings for interventions aimed at enhancing the sustainability and equity of the dairy sector.

Citation

Galiè, A., Njiru, N., Heckert, J., Myers, E. and Alonso, S. 2022. Gendered barriers and opportunities in Kenya’s informal dairy sector: enhancing gender-equity in urban markets. Gender, Technology and Development 26(2): 214–237.

Photo credit: Customers at a milk bar in Ndumbuini in Kabete, Nairobi (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

Village women and livestock in Niger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

Governments are currently negotiating a historic global pandemic treaty to protect us from future pandemics. The special session of the 2021 World Health Assembly agreed that the new accord will focus on early detection and prevention of pandemics, as well as the One Health approach which recognises the interconnectedness of human, animal and environment health.

On Tuesday 28 June 2022, the Action for Animal Health coalition will host an online event during which experts from civil society and multilateral organizations will discuss why robust animal health systems are critical to putting One Health into practice to reduce the risk of zoonoses spilling over to people.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is a member of the Action for Animal Health coalition which calls on governments, donors and international agencies to invest in animal health systems through five pillars of action:

  • Support community engagement and equitable access to animal health services
  • Increase the numbers and improve the skills of the animal health workforce
  • Close the veterinary medicines and vaccines gap
  • Improve animal disease surveillance
  • Enhance collaboration for One Health

Join the online event to hear more about why stronger animal health systems are key to preventing another pandemic. 

Below are details of the event and how to register.

Date: Tuesday 28 June 2022

Time: 1200–1315 hours (BST, GMT+1)

Location: Online (a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants the day before the event)

Registration link: https://takeaction.thebrooke.org/page/103248/event/2 

Speakers

  • Klara Saville, head of animal health, welfare and community development, Brooke/Action for Animal Health
  • Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, founder and chief executive officer of Conservation Through Public Health
  • Mariana Vale, Ecology Department, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Preventing Pandemics at the Source, and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Chadia Wannous, One Health global coordinator, World Organisation for Animal Health
  • Angélique Angot, laboratory specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Moderator: Patricia Amira

Photo credit: Village women and livestock in Niger (ILRI/Stevie Mann)

To commemorate this year’s World Food Safety Day (7 June) under the theme Safer food, better health, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has launched an online food safety campaign and landing page to showcase its collaborative research on risk-based approaches to improving food safety in low- and middle-income countries.

Better management of foodborne diseases could save nearly half a million lives a year and safeguard the livelihoods of over one billion small-scale livestock producers.

ILRI’s approach to food safety research is based on risk analysis. We identify the hazards in food and build the capacity of policymakers to understand risk-based approaches.

Policy will be more effective and efficient if based on actual risk to human health rather than the presence of hazards. ILRI’s approach is therefore to generate research evidence and develop solutions to improve the safety of animal products in informal food markets.

Visit the landing page to read key food safety messages as well as the latest food safety news from ILRI and information on projects and selected publications. You will also find the profiles of ILRI scientists involved in food safety research.

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

Photo credit: World Health Organization

Market place in Kenya (photo credit: World Bank/Sambrian Mbaabu).

Towards enhancing food safety in East Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) have been working with food safety experts from universities in the East African Community to develop benchmarks for a Bachelor of Science program in food safety.

As part of this endeavour, a workshop to finalize the curriculum benchmark process was held on 22–24 March 2022 in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting brought together 21 food safety experts to develop the expected learning outcomes of the curriculum and align the learning outcomes with the main and supportive courses derived from a stakeholder engagement exercise.

The outputs of the group and plenary discussions will be used to draft a benchmark report which will be validated and finalized according to IUCEA processes.

The workshop was funded by CGIAR donors, FAO (Lloyd’s Register Foundation), the CGIAR One Health Initiative, the ILRI-led Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) project and IUCEA.

The workshop report may be accessed via the link below.

Citation

Kang’ethe, E.K., Mutua, F. and Hung Nguyen-Viet. 2022. Benchmarks for food safety curriculum in the East African Community. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Photo credit: Market place in Kenya (World Bank/Sambrian Mbaabu)

Delia Grace

We congratulate Delia Grace, professor of food safety systems at the Natural Resources Institute and joint appointed scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), on winning the 2022 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award in the research innovation category.

Delia Grace is a renowned scientist with unique and transformative impacts on the safety of food systems and public health in developing countries.

As a trained veterinarian and epidemiologist, she brings a special expertise on the interconnectedness of animal health, human health and ecohealth to her work. A focus of her work is improving food safety in informal markets in developing countries.

‘I’m honoured to be named the recipient of the Arrell Global Food Innovation Award in the area of research impact,’ she said.

‘There is a very critical relationship between animal, human and environment health and I hope we can continue to research and find ways to help improve food safety and thus the health of humans and animals. While there is still a lot to learn, by listening and engaging, thinking and trying, we can achieve much more.’

‘Congratulations to Delia Grace Randolph for being awarded with the Arrell Global Food Innovation Award for excellence in research,’ said Evan Fraser, Arrell Food Institute Director.

‘Food safety is critical to food systems, and Delia Grace Randolph’s research in this field has clearly had a positive impact on many people.’

The mission of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph is to bring people together to conduct research, train the next generation of food leaders and shape social, industrial and governmental decisions, always ensuring food is the central priority.

The Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards are adjudicated by a group of internationally recognized scientists and community activists. This year’s adjudicators are Nadia Theodore, senior vice president, global government and industry relations, Maple Leaf Foods; Florence Lasbennes, managing director, 4SD; Lawrence Haddad, executive director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition; and Adrienne Xavier, acting director of the Indigenous Studies Program, McMaster University.

Browse Delia Grace’s research publications here