Food Safety Management (Second Edition) - Chapter 50: Climate Change and Food Safety

Elsevier, Food Safety Management: A Practical Guide for the Food Industry, Second Edition, 2023, pp 1041-1052
Liu C., Moy G.G.

Climate change, with few exceptions, has the potential to increase the risks of many known hazards in foods as well as to introduce risks that are currently unknown. Food safety may involve complex interactions of temperature, precipitation, and carbon dioxide levels as well as indirect factors, such as cultivation methods, soil and water quality, and other climate-related variables. Therefore, this chapter only offers some examples about the potential impact of climate change on known microbial and chemical hazards. These hazards include pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, as well as potentially toxic chemicals, such as mycotoxins, heavy metals, and marine toxins. In addition, climate change may alter the use of approved food chemicals, such as food additive, pesticides and veterinary drugs. Consequently, impact of climate change on food safety remains an area of research and vigilance. Food safety professionals in the food industry should be particularly vigilant with incoming raw materials. For known food-hazard risks, hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) evaluations for specific food systems should take climate change into account and, where appropriate, modifying their monitoring procedures. Academic and research institutions with the support of the food industry and government should identify and prioritize potential climate-related risk. Cross-sectoral and integrated surveillance, monitoring and information exchange, as envisioned in One Health, should be initiated. Government monitoring programs should be intensified to identify when chemical contaminant levels are being increased due to climate changes, such as total diet studies. Greater intersectoral cooperation by medical, environmental and food safety professionals is needed to better understand and model potential risks posed by climate change and to develop the necessary tools to ameliorate these risks when they threaten public health. Disturbances in food supply chains, including those caused by extreme weather, may increase the likelihood of contamination and food safety should explicitly be considered when managing such events and preferably in disaster-response planning.