Monday, September 19, 2011

From Field to Fork

aka Pasture to Plate...

"Food Defense" is an important issue and will only grow more so as the planet becomes warmer and more crowded. I know several security professionals who protect the food supply at different points in the chain.  The chain's links form an interrelated web which includes finance, environmental concerns - land, air, and water, energy, preventing the spread of plant and animal diseases, harvest, transportation, preparation, logistics, and consumption.

"Food and Agriculture" is a DHS Critical Infrastructure.  Otherwise, in the US the FDA and the USDA "share" jurisdiction.  Our very own University of Minnesota hosts the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD).

Different entities have staked claims to several terms which are no longer synonymous. "Food Security" is applied to the certainty of regular access to nutrition. "Food Safety" has to do with preventing unintended contamination or spoilage of food from field to fork.

NOTE: This was my reply in a LinkedIn thread started by a peer from India.  It's also letting me move Michelle's wild-eyed visage down the page.

Interesting development:  The OP on the LinkedIn thread is interested in the impact of Food Security as it is currently used - equitable and reliable distribution of nutrition - as a security issue.  My comment:

If you are in fact talking about the impact of food security - the reliable and equitable distribution of food to all persons - or the lack of it, as a contributor to social order or disorder then you are operating at a very thoughtful level indeed.  We can see the role corrupt governments and local warlords play in leveraging the impact of of drought and famine to their own purposes.  We can see the effects of NGOs attempting to serve those in need despite massive hurdles.  In the long term there are land use, water supply, air quality, investment, environmental, and technological concerns for governments as well.  Most of these issues are addressed at the level of transnational, regional, and national governments.  Are you raising awareness of a future opportunity or challenge for private sector interests or proposing a positive role for private security professionals?  Please tell us more.