Food borne diseases pose economic burden of Rs 1.76 lakh crore

Food borne diseases pose economic burden of Rs 1.76 lakh crore

India stares at an economic burden of nearly Rs 1.76 lakh crore ($28 billion) from food borne diseases, researchers warned health ministers on Tuesday.

Food borne diseases account for 0.5% of India's GDP, which adds up to nearly $28 billion, scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi said in a study released at the first health ministers' meeting on food and nutrition here.

The researchers calculated the total economic burden by clubbing the cost incurred on treating food borne diseases and the loss in economic productivity to arrive at the estimate. The burden is nearly three times the annual budget of the Union Health Ministry.

The disease burden due to poor quality food is slated to rise from an estimated 100 million at the moment to nearly 170 million by 2030. It means one out of every nine people will fall sick because of poor quality food from the existing one in every 12 people.

CAG raps FSSAI

The study's release comes weeks after the Comptroller and Auditor General, in a report tabled in Parliament, flagged the poor regulation of the food and beverage sector by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The CAG report pointed out that as many as 65 FSSAI testing laboratories – out of a total of 72 – function without accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration. The same is true of eight out of 16 referral laboratories that operate without a certificate from the official agency.

The audit watchdog also pointed out how the food safety regulator diluted its own norms and deviated from the rule book.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda said the central government was providing Rs 482 crore to the states to strengthen 45 food testing laboratories.

Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Puducherry, Jharkhand and Delhi attended the round table meeting.

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