In late February, twenty-four World Food Prize Laureates penned a letter asking the Biden Administration for help. These internationally recognized and exceptional Laureates are known to have - with stacks of proof - advanced the quantity, quality, availability of, or access to food through creative interventions within the food system. They also have collectively requested the new administration in the United States to come back to the table and re-engage to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.
While they argue for funding to generate more evidence, the Laureates go a step further, calling on the U.S. government to galvanize global leadership in food security and build on past achievements by expanding the “highly successful” Feed the Future Initiative and Innovation Laboratories. GAIN is leading a pioneering Feed the Future project called EatSafe – Evidence and Action Toward Safe, Nutritious Food.
This collective of the world’s most respected geneticists, soil and plant scientists, economists, veterinarians and medical doctors from the public and private sectors raised the clamour that the food system is dangerously broken and that it is critical that the U.S. takes a lead now to ensure the future of our food system addresses the humanitarian challenge of feeding the world, through a food system that produces a healthy, safe, and sustainable food supply.
The future, they argue, must also include a focus and investment in the safety of the foods. Food safety is not new, but it hasn’t taken a front seat in the food security arena even though it needs to, urgently.
Since 1986, World Food Prize Laureates have made their mark across a multitude of food-related scientific disciplines throughout the public and private sectors. They have dedicated their life’s work to agricultural innovation, making the case for various nutrients for human growth and development, or focusing on one food as a major part of the solution, or technology that will bring foods closer to the hungry. Through their formidable research, they all realize that no matter how abundant, sustainable, cost effective, resilient, or diverse our diets become, if food is not safe, it cannot nourish. In fact, the foods that are essential to improve nutrition can also be the riskiest.
Just how big is the food safety problem? Big enough to warrant its own clarion call.
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