Risk Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Food and Water Safety

by Ali Siddiqui

According to the background research done by `Ben A. Smith et al. temperatures and total annual precipitation across most of North America are expected to rise. They suggest that these expected changes would impact areas negatively especially if those areas are developing and population is increasing. The negative impacts arise from how food and water contamination can be increased by the longer survival of both old and new pathogens as well as the extended peak season for many microbial diseases. An example they provided was of Salmonella infections, which correlated with rising global air temperatures in most continents besides Europe, negated the rise in infections by using human intervention through public health. This intervention was implemented once a quantities microbial risk assessment (QMRA) model was utilized. QMRA models are typically developed assuming historical/static climate conditions. These researchers suggest, however, that adding climate change factors in food/water safety QRMA models make them increasingly complex due to the varying range of relevancy of variables. According to the authors, a framework is necessary in order to better understand the large data alongside the QRMA model elements so as to asses the potential impacts of changing climate variables on public health. Continue reading