Microbiology to play crucial role in ensuring food security

2nd November 2011

Professor Mike Peck of the Institute of Food Research has joined other experts from the Society for General Microbiology in launching a position statement on food security and safety. This sets out the key role that microbiology will play in ensuring that the 7 billion people in the world have access to safe and nutritious food.

“Food security and safety is concerned with the production of sufficient safe food for all. The world is already experiencing a food security and safety crisis. These problems are likely to be exacerbated by the increase in the global population expected in the next few decades,” said Professor Peck.

“Research by microbiologists has been and will continue to be crucial to meeting the global challenge of ensuring food security and food safety. In particular, we need to improve current food safety to reduce the unacceptable levels of foodborne illness and reduce the amount of food lost by microbial spoilage. We also need to ensure that in the future new foods are developed safely and that we control emerging microbial pathogens.”

Professor Peck joined an expert group of microbiologists who looked at the roles played by microorganisms in every step in the food chain, from microbes that supply nutrients to crop plants, to plant and animal pathogens. Professor Peck’s own expertise contributed to identifying the key areas for research in food spoilage and food safety and human diseases. The expert group was chaired by former IFR director, Professor David White CBE, and the report was launched at the Food Security and Safety Event at the House of Lords. Professor Peck attended the launch along with IFR’s Director, Professor David Boxer.