"We are what we eat" is an old proverb. Our nutritional status, health, physical and mental faculties depend on the food we eat and how we eat it. Access to good quality food has been man's main Endeavour from the earliest days of human existence. Safety of food is a basic requirement of food quality. "Food safety" implies absence or acceptable and safe levels of contaminants, adulterants, naturally occurring toxins or any other substance that may make food injurious to health on an acute or chronic basis. Food quality can be considered as a complex characteristic of food that determines its value or acceptability to consumers. Besides safety, quality attributes include: nutritional value; organoleptic properties such as appearance, color, texture, taste; and functional properties.
Food systems in developing countries are not always as well organized and developed as in the industrialized world. Moreover, problems of growing population, urbanization, lack of resources to deal with pre- and post- harvest losses in food, and problems of environmental and food hygiene mean that food systems in developing countries continue to be stressed, adversely affecting quality and safety of food supplies. People in developing countries are therefore exposed to a wide range of potential food quality and safety risks. This paper discusses the special problems of food quality and safety in developing countries as well as their impact on food security and presents ways and means of dealing with these problems.
In 2020, the world population will most likely reach 7.6 billion, an increase of 31% over the mid-1996 population of 5.8 billion. Approximately 98% of the projected population growth over this period will take place in developing countries. It has also been estimated that between the years 1995 and 2020 the developing world's urban population will double, reaching 3.4 billion. This overall increase in population and in the urban population in particular, poses great challenges to food systems. Intensification of agriculture and animal husbandry; more efficient food handling, processing and distribution systems; introduction of newer technologies including appropriate application of biotechnology will all have to be exploited to increase food availability to meet the needs of growing populations. Some of these practices and technologies may also pose potential problems of food safety and nutritional quality and call for special attention in order to ensure consumer protection. GIVE FOOD TO HUNGRY.