The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a handbook for countries to measure their foodborne disease burden.

The guide will help nations identify food safety system needs and data gaps so they can strengthen national infrastructure and better protect public health. It does not cover chemical hazards, including food allergens.

The goal of a national burden of foodborne disease study is to rank and prioritize foodborne diseases based on their overall public health impact in the population. The objectives of such a study are to: 

  • Estimate the burden of disease for selected foodborne hazards
  • Develop a framework for routine updating of estimates and evaluation of trends
  • Provide a baseline against which food safety interventions can be evaluated

The guide is intended for use at national level and gives a complete picture of the requirements, enabling factors, challenges, and opportunities involved and the steps in the process. It also aims to foster harmonization of methodologies for estimating foodborne disease burden across countries.