ROME, March 14 (IPS) – Amid the devastating effects of climate change and rapidly advancing new technologies, it seems clear now that the future of food is about to change. Whether it’s new foods like jellyfish, edible insects, and cell-based meat, or new technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology, the future promises exciting opportunities to offer. food for the world, a new report says.
“However, now is the time to start preparing for any potential safety concerns.”
A report dated 7 March 2022 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) examines how key global drivers such as economic growth, changing consumer behavior and consumption patterns, a growing global population, and the climate crisis will shape food safety in the world of tomorrow.
“We are in an era where technological and scientific innovations are revolutionizing the agricultural sector, including the food safety sector. It is important for countries to keep pace with these advances, particularly in such an important area as food safety, and FAO must provide proactive advice on the application of science and innovation.” FAO chief scientist Ismahane Elouafi said.
The Thinking about the future of food safety – A foresight report – outlines some of the most important emerging issues in food and agriculture, focusing on the impacts of food safety, which are increasingly of concern to consumers around the world.
It adopts a foresight approach based on the idea that the roots of how the future might play out are present today in the form of early signs. Tracking these signals through systematic intelligence gathering increases the likelihood that policymakers are better prepared to deal with emerging opportunities and challenges.
Key drivers and trends
The report covers eight major categories of drivers and trends: climate change, new food sources and production systems, the growing number of farms and vegetable gardens in our cities, changing behavior consumer behavior, the circular economy, microbiology (the study of bacteria, viruses, and fungi inside and around us), technological and scientific innovation, and space. food fraud.
Here are some of the report’s most interesting findings:
- Increased exposure to pollutants – The effects of changing weather patterns and temperatures are getting a lot of attention, and FAO recently issued a report on the impact of climate change on climate change. food safety in 2020.
Recent evidence points to the severe impact of climate change on various biological and chemical pollutants in food by altering their virulence, occurrence and distribution.
Traditionally cooler areas are becoming warmer and more conducive to agriculture, opening new habitats for agricultural pests and poisonous fungi. For example, aflatoxin, traditionally considered a major problem in some parts of Africa, has now been established in the Mediterranean.
- Jellyfish, algae and insects Edible jellyfish have been consumed for generations in some parts of Asia. They are low in carbohydrates and high in protein but tend to perish at ambient temperatures and can be vectors for the transmission of pathogenic bacteria that can adversely affect human health.
Consumption of seaweed is also spreading beyond Asia and is expected to continue to increase, in part due to its nutritional value and sustainability (seaweed does not require fertilizer to grow and helps combat ocean acidification).
One source of concern is their ability to accumulate high levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. Interest in edible insects is also growing due to increasing awareness of the environmental impact of food production.
While they can be a good source of protein, fiber, fatty acids, and micronutrients like iron, zinc, manganese, and magnesium, they can contain food-borne contaminants and can cause reactions. allergic reactions in some people.
- Insect farming: in another reportThe FAO said that while the human consumption of insects or herbivores has been traditionally practiced in many countries for generations and represents a common dietary component of these species, different animals (birds, fish, mammals), the cultivation of insects as food for humans and as fodder for livestock is relatively recent.
“Producing this ‘small cattle’ offers a number of potential benefits and challenges.”
- Plant-based alternatives – More and more people are becoming vegans or vegetarians, often citing concerns about animal welfare and the impact of pets on the environment. This has led to the development of many plant-based alternatives to meat, with global sales for such products expected to increase.
As plant-based diets expand, more awareness is needed regarding food safety concerns, such as allergens from foods that are not commonly consumed. Previously, was necessary.
- Meat made from cells – Winston Churchill’s prophecy – that one day “we will get rid of the absurdity of raising a whole chicken for the breast or the wings, by growing these parts separately under a suitable environment.” combination” – is becoming a reality, with dozens of companies globally developing cell-based steaks, beef burgers or chicken balls.
“Examples of potential concerns include the use of serum of animal origin in cultures, which can lead to both microbiological and chemical contamination.”
- New technology – A true technological revolution is transforming our agricultural system, helping us to produce more with less. Examples include smart packaging that extends the shelf life of food products, blockchain technology that ensures food can be traced down the supply chain, and 3D printers that produce sweets and even even a “meat-like” texture using plant-based ingredients.
As with all emerging technologies, there are opportunities and challenges, add new FAO report.
Coinciding with the debut of reportFAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) have announced that this year’s edition of World Food Safety DayHeld on June 7, will focus on the theme of “Safer Food, Better Health”.
Among other aspects, World Day will focus on the fact that food safety saves lives. It is not only an important ingredient for food security, but also plays an important role in mitigating foodborne illness.
“Every year, 600 million people fall ill from about 200 different foodborne illnesses. The burden of such disease lies with the poor and young people. In addition, foodborne illness causes 420,000 preventable deaths annually. ”
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service