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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Street food and urban and periurban agriculture and horticulture: perspectives for a strategic coalition towards food security

Ilaria Proietti
Ilaria ProiettiIPTS - JRC Science Hub - European CommissionSpain

Thank you Cecilia for mentioning the food safety issue of street food.  

Nutritional and sustainable diets cannot avoid the food safety aspect of foods.

Ready-to-eat foods, prepared and sold by street food vendors represent a food security strategy put in place to support low-income populations. All over the world street foods provide a wide range of commodities and nutrients, helping people to meet their nutritional needs: indeed, easy accessibility, variety in taste and choice and low cost make street foods an affordable option. Moreover, street foods play an important socio-economic role, in terms of employment and income for those involved in their production and/or selling, empowerment of the local economy and the preservation of the local food cultures.

Nevertheless, the food sold on the street may also represent a risk. Food prepared and exposed for sale may become contaminated by pathogenic micro-organisms as well as hazardous chemicals. Vending stands are often not adequate and clean water, waste disposal and sanitary facilities are often not available in the whole vending area. Poor storage facilities and transport conditions also contribute to the overall difficulties in managing and improving street food safety.

As a consequence, greater awareness and preventive measures need to be implemented for coping with risk factors in a systematic and effective way.

More information specifically on chemical/toxicological risks is available on the paper: Identification and management of toxicological hazards of street foods in developing countries (Food and Chemical Toxicology 63 (2014) 143–152).