ROME – Threats to the world’s food supply know no borders, therefore a concerted effort is needed to protect the food chain from diseases and pests, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the World Trade Organization said. To help with this effort, FAO recently released a “toolbox” of emergency prevention methods aimed at protecting lives and livelihoods.
“Averting risks to the Food Chain” was created to show how prevention, early warning, preparedness, good food chain crisis management and good practices can improve food security and safety.
“Keeping the food chain safe is becoming increasingly complicated in an interconnected and more complex world,” FAO Assistant Director-General Ren Wang said in a statement. “That’s why we believe it’s important for sectors involved in food production, processing and marketing to watch out for current and potential threats and respond to them in a concerted manner.”
Threats to the global food chain are traveling faster than ever before, according to FAO research. Each year, 1 person in 10 is sickened by contaminated food, and an estimated 420,000 die as a result. Additionally, more than 70 percent of new diseases have animal origin.
Factors contributing to these trends include certain types of intensive farming, deforestation, overgrazing and climate change, FAO said. In some cases, conflicts, civil unrest and globalized trade are all increasing the likelihood of threats emerging, passing to other countries and becoming devastating in these newly infected countries.