The Top 5 Food Safety Issues to Watch Out for in the Future
As the climate changes over time, it’s only natural that the way we grow food and store it will have to change, too. However, as you may have heard, our current food safety regulations are based on decades-old information, which means many of the rules in place today may not be adequate in the future. You can help ensure our food supply stays safe by understanding and following the top five food safety issues to watch out for in the future.
1) Population Growth
Approximately 7.2 billion people call Earth home—but that number is set to soar to 9.6 billion by 2050, according to U.N. estimates (PDF). And with a greater population comes greater strain on global food systems and natural resources, as well as a heightened risk of disease outbreaks and famine. The biggest issue facing our planet isn’t climate change or pollution; it’s overpopulation.
2) Climate Change
The effects of climate change will also affect food safety and security. Climate change and environmental degradation are greatly affecting global yields. Higher temperatures, especially at critical growing periods like during germination or pollination, can lower crop yields. At times, temperature increases of a few degrees may not sound significant, but overall changes in global temperature could decrease yields by an estimated 10% by 2050.
3) Water Scarcity
Weather changes and increased demand will cause water scarcity—and it’s going to impact a lot more than our daily showers. Producing, transporting, storing, and distributing food requires enormous amounts of water. When you add climate change into that mix—especially with predictions of extended droughts in many areas around the world—you have an unsustainable future if you can’t find ways to increase food production without requiring more water.
Climate change and climate variability will significantly impact agriculture, particularly small-scale farmers who have limited capacity to adapt. According to FAO estimates, around 95% of all agricultural production occurs outside urban areas. This means that future changes will have a major impact on food security in many countries, and especially developing countries that are highly dependent on natural resources such as soil and water.
5) Control the wastage of Food
Food wastage is an issue that needs immediate attention. Consumers need to be responsible towards food wastage and take necessary precautions so as not to waste food unnecessarily. People should also buy fresh produce, especially fruits and vegetables, when they are in season instead of buying them all year round. This would allow people to get better quality and quantity at a lesser price. As a result, there will be less wastage. Because of climate change, floods, cyclones and droughts have increased over time.