Foodborne Illnesses Still A Global Concern— Health Official - Eastern Mirror
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Foodborne illnesses still a global concern— Health official

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Jun 07, 2024 10:32 pm
Health official
Health officials with students of Government High School, PWD Kohima on Friday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Dr. Akou Sorhie, Mission Director of the National Health Mission, on Friday highlighted the continued global concern over foodborne illnesses despite significant advancements in food production and processing.

Speaking during the World Food Safety Day celebrations at Government High School, PWD Kohima, Sorhie emphasised the 2024 theme, “Prepare for the Unexpected,” which underscores the importance of proactive food safety measures to protect the food supply from potential hazards.

She cited the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimates that 600 million cases of foodborne illness occur globally each year, impacting nearly one in ten people and resulting in over 420,000 deaths.

Children are disproportionately affected, with 1,25,000 deaths annually among children under five years of age. Though very much under reported, the prevalence rate of foodborne illness in India is 13.2% at the home level, she added.

Sorhie went on to say that foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, is caused by consuming contaminated food, often by bacteria, their toxins, parasites, viruses, or chemicals.

She also outlined risk factors for outbreaks, including improper cooling or heating of perishable foods, insufficient cooking temperatures, dirty utensils and equipment, poor hygiene practices, and sourcing food from unsafe sources.

Some of the ways to prevent foodborne illness, she said, is by handwashing, separating raw meats, thorough cooking, and checking expiry dates.

Further, she encouraged everyone to be vigilant about food safety in their daily lives, and contribute to a healthier world for themselves and future generations.

Earlier in the programme, Dr. John Kemp, State Programme Officer for Food Safety at the Health and Family Welfare Department, that they chose to create food safety awareness among students as they are the future.

Khrukutolu Veswuh, Deputy Director of Food Analysis at the State Public Health Laboratory Kohima, highlighted the prevalence of food adulteration in spices, particularly the use of unauthorised food colouring as a common issue in the state. She also shared that the lab conducts food safety awareness programmes in schools monthly.

Following the formal programme, the technical team from the State Public Health Laboratory Kohima, under the Directorate of H&FW, demonstrated how to detect common food adulterants.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Jun 07, 2024 10:32:25 pm
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