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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333734

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Ch. 7: Food Safety, Nutrition, and Distribution

item Ziska, Lewis
item CRIMMINS, ALLISON - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item AUCLAIR, ALLAN - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item DEGRASSE, STACY - Food And Drug Administration(FDA)
item GAROFALO, JADA - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) - United States
item KHAN, ALI - University Of Nebraska
item LOLADZE, IRAKLI - Non ARS Employee
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto
item Showler, Allan
item Thurston Enriquez, Jeanette
item WALLS, ISABEL - National Institute Of Food And Agriculture (NIFA)

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/4/2016
Publication Date: 4/4/2016
Citation: Ziska, L., A. Crimmins, A. Auclair, S. DeGrasse, J.F. Garofalo, A.S. Khan, I. Loladze, A.A. Pérez de León, A. Showler, J. Thurston, and I. Walls, 2016: Ch. 7: Food Safety, Nutrition, and Distribution. In: Basu, R., English, P. et al., editors. The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Washington, D.C.: Global Change Research Program. 189–216. doi:10.7930/J0ZP4417

Interpretive Summary: Climate change, including rising temperatures and changes in weather extremes, is expected to increase the exposure of food to certain pathogens and toxins [Likely, High Confidence]. This will increase the risk of negative health impacts [Likely, Medium Confidence], but actual incidence of foodborne illness will depend on the efficacy of practices that safeguard food in the United States [High Confidence]. Climate change will increase human exposure to chemical contaminants in food through several pathways [Likely, Medium Confidence]. Elevated sea surface temperatures will lead to greater accumulation of mercury in seafood [Likely, Medium Confidence], while increases in extreme weather events will introduce contaminants into the food chain [Likely, Medium Confidence]. Rising carbon dioxide concentrations and climate change will alter incidence and distribution of pests, parasites, and microbes [Very Likely, High Confidence], leading to increases in the use of pesticides and veterinary drugs [Likely, Medium Confidence]. The nutritional value of agriculturally important food crops, such as wheat and rice, will decrease as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to reduce the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species [Very Likely, High Confidence]. Increases in the frequency or intensity of some extreme weather events associated with climate change will increase disruptions of food distribution by damaging existing infrastructure or slowing food shipments [Likely, High Confidence]. These impediments lead to increased risk for food damage, spoilage, or contamination, which will limit availability of and access to safe and nutritious food depending on the extent of disruption and the resilience of food distribution infrastructure [Medium Confidence].

Technical Abstract: A safe and nutritious food supply is a vital component of food security. Food security, in a public health context, can be summarized as permanent access to a sufficient, safe, and nutritious food supply needed to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. The impacts of climate change on food production, prices, and trade for the United States and globally have been widely examined, including in the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) report, "Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System," in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, and elsewhere. An overall finding of the USGCRP report was that "climate change is very likely to affect global, regional, and local food security by disrupting food availability, decreasing access to food, and making utilization more difficult." This chapter focuses on some of the less reported aspects of food security, specifically, the impacts of climate change on food safety, nutrition, and distribution in the context of human health in the United States. Systems and processes related to food safety, nutrition, and production are inextricably linked to their physical and biological environment. Although production is important, for most developed countries such as the United States, food shortages are uncommon; rather, nutritional quality and food safety are the primary health concerns. Certain populations, such as the poor, children, and Indigenous populations, may be more vulnerable to climate impacts on food safety, nutrition, and distribution.