Do new models of eating compromise food security?

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Do new models of eating compromise food security?

The concern for food security began already in the first steps of our modern civilization.

If we look at the results of surveys conducted on the concerns of citizens and establish a common denominator, this is the security. Security in its various forms: employment, the risk of terrorism, the evolution of the economy, immigration, security and protection that the administrations try to apply to satisfy the citizens and guarantee them the tranquility that this entails.

Recall that security is a parameter that can be objectified and as such measurable while trust is difficult to measure because of its subjective component. We could analyze here in terms of safety and confidence, the recent scandal involving Volkswagen on the deception in the measurement of emissions in cars and the consequences that may arise from this.

But all security involves 2 parts: instructions and compliance with them.

Many of the norms of safety in the daily environment are based on facts elaborated with scientific reasoning, from which conclusions are deduced, regulations are drawn up for compliance and different sanctions are applied according to the severity of the breach. Although in many cases the legal protection usually goes behind the daily reality. Some examples: the regulation of not smoking in public places, the use of safety belts, the speed of vehicle circulation and hundreds of them.

Let’s go to the agri-food area: there is an everyday fact that all citizens do without distinction of status: eating. How are we in this area?

The concern for food security began already in the first steps of our modern civilization. In the fourteenth century there was in the Kingdom of Valencia the so-called book of Mostasaff, is one of the first medieval codices on food safety, referring to inspection in the hygiene of killing in the markets.

Scientific knowledge delved into food safety issues with the support of civil society, and the first major science-safety-legislation coordination center was the North American FDA in 1906 (Theodore Roosevelt during his presidency signs the Law of Food and Pure Drugs that authorizes the federal government to inspect food companies and obliges manufacturers to specify the list of ingredients.

Much progress has been made since then in food safety: in ingredients and additives, in processes, in distribution, in labeling, in allergen information services … In Europe in 2002, the European Food Safety Authority was created (European Food Safety Authority – EFSA) is an agency of the european union (UE), whose main objective is to have the responsibility of providing scientific methods to alert and detect all those problems that affect Food Security, this authority assesses the risks that may affect the EU member states. What gives these countries, to date, one of the highest food safety standards worldwide, with the differential effect that this implies of their products and gastronomic offer with reference to other countries. In this way, we have already forgotten endemic events such as outbreaks of salmonellosis derived from egg products or cumulative poisonings from heavy metals to natural products (such as absinthe), etc.

But fads appear, some transgressors in the aspect of food security, which can occur at any point in the agri-food chain (from primary production to services). So we can find in the market some organic products with specific natural ingredients that have not been subjected to the same safety tests to which the so-called additives are subject. Note that nature has much more experience than the chemical industry in developing toxic products (either immediate or cumulative). Mention at this point that since the 70s of the last century, poisoning by botulism in modern society have come from homemade preserves (artisans).

¿And if we refer to the service? Recent trends in the “uberization of the kitchen” (if we refer to catering services served between individuals). We warned of the risks of losing the levels of food security that had been achieved. We can find this new service offering through social networks. As critical aspects as cross-contamination in processing and storage, transport conditions, cold chain, information on allergenic components, traceability … seems that today is partially or totally in the air.

The society admits, and is pleased, with these new models of leisure that fall within the global food system and should be part of it, but in harmony with what society itself demands: food safety throughout the chain, from production to consumption.

We must prevent and anticipate before problems appear that affect citizens but also the drivers of the model. The company now has all kinds of instruments to offer security to consumers of these services. You have to get to work and consumer associations, always attentive to these issues, can be a good moderator to reach security agreements.

Triptolemos Foundation from its model of the food system collaborates in the optimization and articulation of its operation, so that it results in greater availability and quality of food, in trust and dignity, in an environment of global sustainability, in the conviction that There can be a sustainable and socially balanced development if, at the base, the global food system does not maintain the balance between its actors. It is open to any new incorporation that shares its objectives.

Yvonne Colomer | Director Triptolemos Foundation