125,000 Children Die From Foodborne Illnesses Every Year

First Posted: Dec 06, 2015 10:27 PM EST

One in 10 people across the globe get sick each year because of contaminated food, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Roughly 30 percent of the 600 million who fall ill are children, researchers say; that's 420,000 people who die every year--125,000 who happen to be children under the age of five.

"The data we are publishing is only a very conservative estimate. We are sure that the real figure is bigger," said WHO's Department of Food Safety director Dr. Kazuaki Miyagishima, in a news release

The health organization says that diarrheal diseases are responsible for over half of the foodborne illnesses, which children are especially at risk for. Diarrhea is often caused by eating raw and undercooked meat as well as foods contaminated by E. coli, norovirus and salmonella.

Countries with low food safety guidelines are at particularly high risks, researchers say.
"Our results show that the biggest burden is in Africa and in Southeast Asia, and there the death rates are highest, including those of children under five years of age," added Havelaar. 

However, while the highest number of deaths have occurred in developing countries with higher rates of poverty, there have also been many food poisoning outbreaks in Europe and the United States.

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