FAO. 2020. Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety. Food safety and quality series No. 8. Rome. 176 pages
Climate change is causing unprecedented damage to our ecosystem. Increasing temperatures, ocean warming and acidification, severe droughts, wildfires, altered precipitation patterns, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and amplification of extreme weather events have direct implications for our food systems. While the impacts of such environmental factors on food security are well known, the effects on food safety receive less attention.
The purpose of Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety is to identify and attempt to quantify some current and anticipated food safety issues that are associated with climate change.
The food safety hazards considered in the publication are foodborne pathogens and parasites, harmful algal blooms, pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals with emphasis on methylmercury. There is also, a dedicated section on the benefits of forward-looking approaches such as horizon scanning and foresight, which will not only aid in anticipating future challenges in a shifting global food safety landscape, but also help build resilient food systems that can be continually updated as more knowledge is assimilated.
By building a more widespread and better understanding of the consequences climate change has on food safety, it is hoped that this document will aid in fostering stronger international cooperation in making our food safer by reducing the global burden of these concerns.