Sécurité sanitaire et qualité des aliments

Webinar zeroes in on the ways climate change is affecting food safety


People from all over the globe tuned into an FAO-hosted webinar entitled “The impact of climate change on food safety” on 17 November 2020. In introducing FAO’s pioneering efforts to compile the scientific evidence showing that climate change is exacerbating food safety hazards, Jamie Morrison, FAO Director of the Food Systems and Food Safety Division, anticipated that the hazards considered are: foodborne pathogens and parasites, harmful algal blooms, pesticides, mycotoxins, and heavy metals.

Vittorio Fattori and Keya Mukherjee, FAO experts in food safety, summarized the key findings of the recent publication, Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety, which documents the effects of climate change on contaminants – both microbiological and chemical - that can enter the food chain at different points.

“The impacts of climate change on food safety are a cross-cutting issue that requires an integrated approach to find holistic solutions,” Fattori said, noting that robust monitoring and surveillance systems help prevent and control foodborne outbreaks.

FAO Deputy Director of the Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment Zitouni Ould-Dada set the stage for delving into the various challenges posed by climate change by pointing out that extreme events are affecting livelihoods and health.

The need for reliable global data on impending and current food safety challenges due to climate change, especially in small island developing states, was emphasized by Renata Clarke, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Caribbean.

With a focus on smallholder farmers, Margarita Astralaga, Special Advisor to the Associate Vice President of the Strategy and Knowledge Department at IFAD, said, “Sustainable and climate resilient rural economies should provide sufficient, safe and nutritious food all year round leaving no one behind.”

Maria Cristina Tirado-von der Pahlen, Climate Change, Food and Sustainability Policy Lecturer at Loyola Marymount University, spoke about the ways scientific evidence can be translated into policies addressing climate change related challenges within a food system approach.

The session was moderated by Markus Lipp, FAO Senior Food Safety Officer.

Watch the webinar

See webinar programme

Access the presentation by Vittorio Fattori and Keya Mukherjee

Download the publication Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety

Check out the infographic showing how a single aspect of climate change can make food less safe

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