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The many faces of the global food crisis

Professor Chris Elliott is the author of a recent UK government report into food supply networks. He’s also the lead educator on the Queen’s University Belfast course “Tackling the Global Food Crisis: Supply Chain Integrity.” Here, he outlines some of the key issues of the current food crisis.

A scientist in a laboratory, working to tackle the global food crisis

Food fraud has undoubtedly become a hot topic. On 4 September, my “Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks: Final Report” was published. The recommendations in the report have been accepted by the UK government and this is reassuring. However, there is still much more to be done, as food integrity is one of a number of key issues in the challenge to tackle the current food crisis.

This week, I will be presenting the outcomes of the “Elliott Review” to three different conferences in two countries. In London on Tuesday is the After Elliott conference, hosted by the Royal Society for Public Health. It will provide an important opportunity to learn from a wide range of experts about the need for change in delivering best practice, in what is fast becoming one of the most talked about and important issues facing all professions involved in food supply and control.

A quick dash across London is then required to speak at the BRC Food Safety Europe 2014 event, which will deliver crucial insights, case studies and practical solutions to global food industries, which are wanting to improve and implement stronger food safety and security programmes.

The next day, I’m off to Rome to speak at the European Commission’s Food Fraud Conference, where the topic of discussion is how a collaborative approach, to ensure the safety and integrity of our food, can be delivered.

All of these events have something important in common – the sharing of insights into how criminal activity occurs in food supply systems, both nationally and internationally, and how we can make it much more difficult for such activities to occur in the future.

The exchange of information will be extremely important and this is why the free online course “Tackling the Global Food Crisis: Supply Chain Integrity” has been developed by me and my team at the Institute for Global Food Security.

During the five week course, beginning 17 November, we will look at a range of topics which deal with food security – from the risks of over producing, to the impact climate change is having on the integrity of food production.

We will focus on current research and solutions that are being developed to meet these challenges. We look forward to debating the issues that threaten the integrity of food supply systems globally and to engage in live debates during Week 3 and Week 5 of the course.

If you want to learn more, join this free online course now. You can also join the conversation using #FLfoodcrisis and follow Professor Chris Elliott on Twitter @QUBFoodProf.

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