Biotech Updates

Researchers Report Climate Change Influence on Food Safety

March 11, 2015

Mieke Uyttendaele from Ghent University and Nynke Hofstra from Wageningen University and Research Centre published the main scientific findings about the impact of climate change on food security in a special issue in the journal Food Research International.

The report, part of the EU FP7 Veg-i-Trade project, states that climate change may jeopardize food security in several ways. A warmer climate means higher risk of contamination and growth of pathogens. Fungi are more likely to grow, so more pesticides may be used. When there is heavy rainfall, the irrigation water, or cultivation itself may be contaminated with bacteria. Yet, according to the study, strong ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and the many bacteria that are naturally present in plants can also disable these unwanted germs quickly.

The report includes a section on pests and pesticide use, concluding that an increased use of pesticides is expected due to climate change, and the effects will differ strongly for different regions, crops, and pesticide types.

For details and other resources, read the news bulletin at the Ghent University website.