As populations grow, the demand for food and water has increased manifold. To meet these demands, we need to grow more crops on the same piece of land and use ways to make them grow faster. With injections and fertilizers, when food grows to the right size we harvest it and bring it for sale. We use the seeds and the remnants of the same plants and crops to grow new ones. Over time, the nutrition value of these go down and the chemical composition rises.
How is the environment quality and food safety related?
- When we litter and add fertilizers to the soil, the soil quality decreases and the nourishing capacity of soil reduces greatly.
- With increasing air pollution, plants breathe in the harmful gases in the atmosphere along with carbon dioxide and cannot bloom to their full potential.
- Most populations bank on water from wells, rivers and ponds. When fertilizers run off, when industrial waste enters these bodies it not only contaminates topical water but ground water This water is used in irrigation and many times in cooking too.
Environment and food safety are deeply interconnected. Our food source, food quality and type of food is determined by how healthy our environment is. With poor quality environment, with poor quality food come many issues. Food borne illnesses range from short term infections to fatal diseases. There may be instances of food poisoning or rashes as symptoms of eating infected food or conditions like typhoid, dysentery, E. coli or toxicity from Mercury ingestion which may lead to far reaching effects on the neurological system or even death.
Population will keep rising and land will still be limited, so is it our fate to eat contaminated food?
- Mass production is helps costs which allow selling at a cheaper rate. If we are able to understand the source of our food and buy from farmers who sell fresh vegetables and fruits or buy from the organic markets can help our health.
- We can avoid buying fruits and vegetables that come into the market before season (which means they have been grown quicker and health may be compromised) and should not buy those that come into the market even after season, meaning they are stale.
- If we really want to eat food from a good source, a wonderful idea, if space, time and energy permits is growing it at home. A lot of factors about source, care, harvest time and season will be under our control.
- The market now is flooded with cafes and restaurants. We can go to places which we trust have neat kitchens, quality standards and clean locations.
Small steps and changes like these will help us maintain our health and be less pressure for our digestive systems and keep the internal organs safe.
Though the governments and organisations are taking up quality marks like AGMARK for agricultural products, ISO for quality and FSSAI for food safety which we must look out for as we buy, we can also take our health in our own hands. When we eat better, we live better and have good health that could last us a lifetime.
"Health is the greatest of human blessings." – Hippocrates.