Dominique Burgeon, the FAO director in Geneva, told a UN press briefing that 40% of the affected by unsafe food are children.
"We calculated on average 340 children under five die as a result of eating contaminated food," Burgeon said, adding that the contamination can come from different sources such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals.
He warned that the diseases can go from "anything from diarrhea to cancers" due to short-term or long-term exposure to such foods.
He underlined that having access to safe nutrition and healthy food is a basic human right. "So this shouldn't happen," Burgeon said.
That is why the Codex Alimentarius establishes standards and this is about the limits that are acceptable, he said, referring to a UN food code that contains general standards covering matters such as food labeling, food hygiene, food additives, and pesticide residues.
The food systems, he said, are changing "very fast" and they need the lead of science to know what the new challenges are.
The most important thing is to find a response and implementation of the standard, he asserted.
This is something that the FAO and World Health Organization work daily on, Burgeon said.
"We have established jointly a Trust Fund to enable countries to implement their food control systems, particularly low and middle-income countries," he added.