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UN Hosts Conference on Food Safety in Africa

Delegates from most African countries are attending a U.N.-sponsored conference in Zimbabwe on improving food safety on the continent.

During Monday's session, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization warned that food-borne diseases are a serious threat in Africa.

Both U.N. agencies said improved food safety would help reduce an estimated 2,000 deaths per day in Africa from food and waterborne diseases.

Experts at the four-day conference will try to strengthen existing systems to ensure safer food to improve health and agricultural trade opportunities.

Host Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe opened the conference in Harare. The French news agency reports Mr. Mugabe defended his seizure of white-owned farms to be given to landless blacks as a way of bringing food to the people.

Relief agencies blame the policy for disrupting Zimbabwe's agricultural output and creating serious food shortages.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.