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'It is about time that food security was made a priority in Africa,' Anadolu News Agency quoted him as saying at the African Union headquarters.
As many as 91 million people fall ill every year due to the consumption of poor quality food, said African Union Commission`s deputy chairperson Thomas Kwesi Quartey on Friday.
"It is about time that food security was made a priority in Africa," Anadolu News Agency quoted him as saying at the African Union headquarters here marking World Food Safety Day which is being observed for the first time at a continental level.
The event was attended by ambassadors from several countries, African Union leaders, African Union Commission staff members and other representatives of various organisations.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 600 million - almost 1 in 10 people in the world - fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420,000 die every year.
"A quarter of global deaths due to unsafe food consumption is in Africa," Egyptian Ambassador to the African Union Osama Mohamed Abdelkhalek said on the occasion. At least 137,000 people die every year, he added.
According to the United Nations, Children under five years of age carry 40 per cent of the foodborne disease burden, with 125,000 deaths every year.
The African Union is commemorating World Food Safety Day for encouraging dialogue and inspiring action to enhance food security as a global reminder in order to maintain a high level of awareness on the pressing issue.