Infectious Diseases 2018

Infectious Diseases 2018

Unsafe food in LMICs costs $110 billion a year - World Bank

26 October, 2018

The impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies about $110 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses each year, according to the World Bank.
The study, supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration, found some costs could be avoided through practical and often low-cost behavior and infrastructure changes at points along food value chains.
The total productivity loss associated with FBD in LMICs (Lower-middle-income countries) is estimated at US$95.2 billion a year. Of this, upper-middle-income countries account for US$50.8 billion,or 53 percent of the total. Lower-middle-income countries account for US$40.6 billion (43 percent), and low-income countries for US$3.8 billion (4 percent). By region, LMICs in Asia account for US$63.1 billion, and those in Sub-Saharan Africa for US$16.7 billion. The cost of treating foodborne illnesses should be added to this. These are estimated at US$15 billion a year in LMICs. Even without factoring in the hard-to-measure costs of domestic food market disruptions and consumer product avoidance, the domestic costs of unsafe food would aggregate to at least US$110 billion among LMICs.
China accounts for more than $30 billion of the total burden of foodborne disease in LMICs and India for $15 billion, with the two countries responsible for 49 percent of the economic burden of foodborne disease in LMICs and 71 percent of the total burden in Asia. For many such countries, rapid demographic and dietary changes are contributing to wider exposure of populations to foodborne hazards, stretching capacity to manage food safety risks. In most regions, capacities to manage food safety risks for exports appear to be stronger than those to protect domestic consumers.  
LMICs in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa account for 41 percent of the global population but are afflicted with 53 percent of all foodborne illness and 75 percent of related deaths.
According to estimates released in 2015 from the World Health Organization, foodborne diseases made 600 million people sick and caused 420,000 premature deaths in 2010. Children under the age of five accounts for 9 percent of the global population but 38 percent of foodborne disease and 30 percent of related deaths.
The World Bank report translates these statistics into economic terms to focus government attention on the need for greater investment, better regulatory frameworks, and measures that promote behavior change.