Food security: The balance of quantity, nutrition, and safety
A reflection on Food Safety Month
“Our history of hunger and starvation on the African continent has given many of us a skewed perception of food security: our subconscious target is to fill every belly.” This quote from IITA Research Scientist Charity Mutegi lays the foundation for her discourse on the important, but very often overlooked, matter of food safety.
Mutegi maintains that while high yielding crops are important, “What is the use of a plentiful harvest if eating it does us harm?”
Beyond quantity, even the most nutritious crop does not guarantee safety as it can become harmful in the absence of good agricultural and manufacturing practices. Using the example of aflatoxin she states: “Aflatoxin, routinely found in dangerous quantities in foods across sub-Saharan Africa, illustrates the dilemma of plenty versus safe in the African context.”
Mutegi currently works with the Aflasafe Project as Kenya Country Coordinator. She considers that raising awareness about safety concerns is paramount and must go beyond our traditional focus on farmers.
Read Mutegi’s full blog post in the Borlaug Blog on “Hungry Bellies and Silent Killers: Why both Quantity and Quality Matter in Food Security.”