Examination of the food safety system in the state of Qatar
Stirling, Allan Richard
Master of Public Health
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Foodbome illness continues to be endemic in our global environment. Protecting the human host from exposure to foodbome pathogens and reducing the incidence of foodbome illness are the central goals of established food safety intervention programs at national levels. Foodbome illness is a significant contributor to morbidity figures and has a major economic impact on global health care systems. For example, foodbome surveillance activities in the United States state that, "foodbome illnesses affect 6 to 80 million persons, cause 9, 000 deaths and cost an estimated 5 billion U.S. dollars annually” (Altekmse, Cohen, Swerdlow, 1997). Moreover, the consequences of foodbome illness in the public food service sector have an impact on foodservice workers, the foodservice industry and the community. If a business is implicated in a case of foodbome illness it can result in financial loss because of bad publicity and the subsequent loss of business, increased insurance premiums, a loss of consumer trust in the food supply and distrust in public health authorities responsible for the protection of population health. “In Canada, as many as 8.5 million Canadians (approximately 1 in 4 persons) are estimated to develop foodbome illness resulting in the hospitalization of 39 000 people and as many as 600 deaths” (Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, 2003). The resultant burden on the health care system has been estimated at approximately 2 billion dollars annually (Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, 2003). “The majority of enteric disease is mild and requires only a day or two of reduced activities; however, these cases pose a significant burden due to lost of productivity and other related costs. In Ontario, about 1 in 313 cases of enteric disease are reported to the province through passive disease surveillance” (Majowicz, et al., 2004) suggesting that many cases are overlooked or ignored.