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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Hi there. I’m Chris Elliott, Professor of food safety at Queen’s University Belfast and also the founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the topic of food integrity. It’s maybe not a term that you’ve heard before. We talk a lot about things like food safety, about food security. But I think food integrity has never, ever been more important. But what is food integrity? And I have produced my own definition to try to explain what it is. I describe food integrity as being when all people at all times have access to food that is safe, authentic, and nutritious.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds And the systems used to produce our food are sustainable, ethical, and respect our environment and protect the human rights of all workers. So that’s a overarching principle. And what I have done is I’ve split that into what I call the seven key principles of food integrity. I think if we get all of these seven principles right, we’ll have a very, very good food system not only for now but the future. So those seven principles are the food that we produce is safe, and safe food is of paramount importance. The food that we produce is authentic it should be genuine. What we buy should be what we think we’re buying.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds My third principle is the food that we produce should be nutritious, and that’s not only the macro nutrition, not only the amount of calories that’s in the food, it’s also the micronutrition to make sure we’re getting the right vitamins, the right fatty acids, and so forth. My fourth principle is about sustainability. We must produce our food in a sustainable way, not only for now, but the future. My fifth principle is about ethics the ethics of what we do, and we must produce our food to the very highest ethical standards, either looking after animal welfare or how we treat the animals during food production.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 seconds My sixth principle is about respecting and protecting our environment, our planet, and here we’ve done a really good job of polluting our planet over the last 40, 50 years. We knew all of the issues like plastics and so forth. We cannot continue to do that. My last principle is often forgotten about in terms of having a food system that we can all respect and can treat in a way that has high levels of integrity, and that is looking after all of those people who work in our global food supply system. We have to look after those many, many millions of people– be they farmers, the workers in manufacturing, in shops and retail, or those people who serve us food.

Skip to 3 minutes and 24 seconds We have to look after all of them as we would expect to be looked after ourselves. That’s the seven principles of food integrity. I hope you think that they’re correct. I hope you think I haven’t missed anything, but I’m always interested to hear if I missed anything in my principles.

What is Food Integrity?

In this video, Professor Christopher Elliott from Queen’s University, Belfast discusses the seven principles of food integrity.

At the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996 a target was set to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view of reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015. The international community accepted this overall target and strove to work towards Food Security.

Food Security exists when all people, at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life

Now in 2020, we are striving to achieve a global food system that is not only safe, accessible and nutritious, but also, that our food is authentic, sustainable and ethical. As a result, Chris Elliott has taken the 1996 UN definition of food security and adapted it to what he thinks we need to concentrate on going forward:

Food Integrity exists when all people, at all times, have access to food which is safe, authentic and nutritious. The systems used to produce the food are sustainable, ethical, respect the environment and protect the human rights of all workers.

The Seven Principles of Food Integrity

Prof. Elliott has broken this definition down into seven key principles:

  1. The food we produce is safe

  2. The food we produce is authentic

  3. The food we produce is nutritious

  4. The systems used to produce food are sustainable

  5. Our food is produced to the highest ethical standards

  6. We respect the environment

  7. We respect those who work in the food industry

What we want you to do

Please share your thoughts on Prof. Chris Elliott’s seven principles of food integrity:

  • Do you think these seven principles cover all elements of food integrity?

  • Do you think all seven principles are equally important? Why / Why not?

Please note that due to Covid-19, all our video contributors had to record themselves using a laptop or smartphone. As a result, the audio quality is not optimal. We apologize for the inconvenience. Should you want to better understand the video content, we have provided the English audio transcript in the downloads section below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Food Supply Chains in a Time of Crisis

EIT Food