Saturday, November 14, 2009

UN warns of climate change's effect on food safety

Helena Bottemiller in Food Safety News: According to a report released by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) this week, climate change may exacerbate a wide variety of global food safety issues, ranging from seafood safety to antibiotic resistance. The report bases its analysis on the most recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found climate change to be an unequivocal reality.

"Projections for the 21st century show that global warming will accelerate," said the FAO report, which lists stronger storm systems, extreme precipitation and dry spells, and rising sea levels as the primary symptoms of climate change. FAO researchers believe these changes will have widespread implications for food production, food security, and food safety.

According to the report, climate change could drastically impact seafood safety by increasing the frequency of toxic algal blooms, promoting the growth of deadly Vibrio vulnificus and facilitating the methylation of mercury, all of which present hazards to human health.

Data collected by the FAO also indicate that spikes in temperature and humidity increase the prevalence of common foodborne diseases like Salmonella and Campylobacter and pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella are likely to become more virulent. …

Campylobacter caught by papparazzi coming out of a nightclub

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