Food security is fundamentally about the right food being in the right place at the right time and for the right people.
It is an essential function, and usually not public, of all governments to ensure food security for their people and strong food safety regulations and culture is essential to making sure this can be met consistently.
The following is from a brochure, “The Future of Food Safety”, from the Food and Agicultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and is included here with permission. The full brochure can be found at http://www.fao.org/3/ca4289en/CA4289EN.pdf
Ready access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right. Yet every year around the world, over 420 000 people die and some 600 million people – almost one in ten – fall ill after eating contaminated food. In fact, foodborne hazards are known to cause over 200 acute and chronic diseases from digestive tract infections to cancer. The ramifications of the cost of unsafe food, however, go far beyond human suffering. Contaminated food hampers socioeconomic development, overloads healthcare systems and compromises economic growth and trade. Opportunities of an increasingly-globalized food market are lost to countries unable to meet international food safety standards. Food safety threats cause an enormous burden on economies from disruptions or restrictions in global and regional agri-food trade, loss of food and associated income and wasted natural resources.
If it is not safe, it is not food. Food security is achieved when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Food safety plays a critical role across the four pillars of food security – availability, access, utilization and stability.
Availability – the amount of food of all types available within an area or country – including imports, production, aid and stocks.
Access – the physical, economic and social access people have to food
Utilisation – the available and accessible food must be both safe and nutritious
Stability – the food must be present at all times to ensure that it can be effective