Food safety is a major determinant of health. It affects the survival, well-being, livelihood and productivity of individuals and, eventually societies. Throughout the world, foodborne diseases represent a considerable public health burden and challenge.
In the South-East Asia Region, nearly 150 million people fell ill with foodborne diseases in 2010, which led to 175 000 deaths. Of these, 40% of foodborne disease burden was among children under 5 years. Approximately 50% of malnutrition is caused not by a lack of food or poor diet, but due to poor water and sanitation facilities, and unhygienic practices leading to life-threatening disease and infections such as diarrhea.