We are continuously improving our solutions for the production of safe foods. In 2017, 34% of our R&D projects focused on the topic, and we launched a digital food safety alert system.
Each year, an astonishing 10% of the world's population becomes ill from eating contaminated food, with the World Health Organization noting that children under five are the most-at-risk group. With a quarter of global grain crops contaminated with dangerous mycotoxins, and overuse of antibiotics in farming leading to critical levels of resistance, it's not hard to see why it's crucial to diligently address food and feed safety issues.
We have already developed a broad range of technologies to meet this growing challenge, from high- capacity drying after harvest, to cleaning and optical sorting solutions that address contamination of the grain crop, and from there to processing and packaging. We continue to explore means to harness the immense opportunities offered by digitalization and cloud solutions to enable far greater traceability and transparency throughout the production process.
Seamless traceability allows customers to track every process step from field to fork and determine the exact time, location, and ingredients affected in case of any contamination. With heightened food and feed safety regulations and the rise of the empowered consumer wanting full transparency about what they buy, food and feed processors must be enabled to collect this high-quality track-and-trace data along the entire supply chain. Bühler's digital and automation solutions make this possible.
In 2017, we launched a new food alert system, which takes food safety information from across the globe and with data analytics distills it into a seamless, easy-to-use tailored solution that gives customers instant, vital information to enable them to make timely and effective responses to food safety risks. Quick understanding of a potential risk could mean the difference between commercial inconvenience and reputational disaster. Our Leybold Optics PAK and PAK T series have improved food safety in the packaging industry, with a thin coating film providing an effective barrier against gases, moisture, odors, and microorganisms, while the ChocoBotic solution has reinvented chocolate lines with fewer stations and components, more hygienic design, and far greater ease of cleaning. Other recent innovations include the PolyFlake flaking mill, which offers significantly higher standards of hygiene, and the Sortex E BioVision for removing foreign objects from the processing line.
We are also committed to raising awareness and developing skills through extensive training and education with a variety of tailored food safety courses for our customers. Bühler also applies these principles in-house: nearly 1,900 employees have participated in our training program to learn about food hazards and hygienic product design, and get an entire overview of food safety from the point of harvest to the end consumer.