The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has released a report that delves into the potential impact of climate change on the state of global food safety. The FAO aims to encourage the global community to become more aware of both the expected and speculative effects of climate change, taking a broad look at the potential impacts – both direct and indirect. The report serves to rally international cooperation in working to understand, develop and implement strategies to address the changing face of global food safety.
The report analyzes how food safety issues may be impacted by various predicted climate changes, including increased global temperatures, more frequent occurrences of heavy precipitation, extended dry periods and stronger storm systems. The report scrutinizes these climate change issues for their potential impact on such food safety concerns as mycotoxins, biotoxins, foodborne diseases (especially zoonotic diseases) and environmental contaminants.
The report encourages international governments to come together as a global community to address the various challenges, working together to strengthen both their individual and intertwined strategies in order to encompass the emerging threats to food safety. Governments need to be well aware of potential food safety hazards and risks, and how to address and respond to such concerns as early as possible. In doing so, governments must make sure that they regularly review and revise information regarding the possible correlation between climate change and food safety, updating industry guides and concerned industries as new information arises.
Recommendations in the report including fostering a relationship between governments, educational institutes and the private sector in order to develop and encourage research, training and education for addressing food safety risks. A collaborated effort between human, animal and environmental health professionals could lead to increased awareness and innovation in addressing the spectrum of food safety concerns. Rather than simply garnering expertise on how food safety affects each particular industry, collaboration and communication should result in the attainment of a broader knowledge base for addressing food safety concerns, and result in a broader range of potential solutions.
The report notes that innovations must be made in order to improve and enhance our understanding of food safety and its correlation with climate change concerns. As well, the report encourages that international governments review their existing food safety programmes and consider incorporating the FAO and World Health Organization’s food safety management techniques; by doing so, the food safety-climate change correlation can be examined and addressed in a more streamlined manner throughout the global community.
The FAO’s report highlights the fact that both climate change and food safety are universal issues that all governments need to be concerned about. A unified and streamlined effort by international governments could lead to further innovations, better solutions, and a wider range of options for dealing with food safety and climate change concerns – and eventually reduce cases of food safety on an international level.
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