What’s Nex(t)(us)?

“nexus“:
a connection or series of connections linking two or more things.

 

At the 44th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS44), the Global Alliance for the future of Food and IPES-Food shared their insights on the food-health nexus, what links food to health. 

From their research the leading causes of sickness were unhealthy working conditions, exposure to contaminants in water, soil and air, consumption of “certain” unsafe and contaminated food, unhealthy diets, and lack of access to adequate and acceptable food at all times (Food insecurity).  

While at times difficult to trace, the sources of these challenges can be found in some core industrial food and farming practices such as chemical-intensive agriculture, intensive livestock production, the mass production and mass marketing of “ultra-processed foods”,  to name a few. 

The solutions to these—though not well known—are simple. Consumers must have a greater interest in how their food is produced and where it comes from. Not enough thought is given to food systems, let alone their wider impacts. If more is said about the issue it can then become a priority, and as a priority there will be a need for change.

Accurate research and scientific data about food and its risk should be made readily and easily available to consumers. Wouldn’t you like to know if you’d turn into a blueberry if you chewed a piece of gum?  Too often research, its priorities, structures and capacities are subjective when they should be objective. Measures must be put in place to ensure that public interest and safety is not an option but a priority.

Safe and in some cases safer alternatives must be shared with the public. Too little about positive health impacts and alternative food and farming systems are known. It is important that these alternatives are documented and their potential shared.

No food system is risk free. While this is cause for concern, it is not cause for inaction. The world still needs to be fed and there is a safe way to do so, we just haven’t discovered it yet. But we’re moving steadily in the right direction.

The reality of linking food systems with good health is that it is a monumental yet achievable task. It requires an integrated approach for it to become a reality. Not just the government and the scientist need to have a say, but we as the consumers need to take an interest in how our food is produced and provide feedback on how we prefer it done. The Nexus is only as strong as its links. The next steps are up to us.

This blogpost covers the CFS44 side event: “Unravelling the food-health nexus: Addressing practices, political economy, and power relations to build healthier food systems.

Blogpost by Audra Francis - #CFS44 Social Reporter – theaudraleah(at)gmail.com
Photo Credit: Gadini on Pixabay

This post is part of the live coverage during the 44rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

10/10/2017 0:00

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