Clare Narrod, PhD, is a Research Scientist and Manager at the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN).  She participated in the Feeding the World, Ethically working group meeting in Ranco, Italy in October 2014. Here is a brief interview as part of the Perspectives on Global Food Ethics blog series.

 


 

Can you briefly describe your related background and interest in food security?

 

Food safety is a fundamental component of food security, but ensuring food safety comes at a cost. I have focused my career on finding cost-effective ways to reduce food safety risk for producers and consumers in different socio-economic situations. I have worked as an analyst providing insight to regulatory decisions concerning food safety, animal and plant health, a researcher working on a number of food safety and zoonotic questions in both developed and developing countries, and as teacher improving public and private sectors capacity to conduct risk analyses around the world.

 

In your opinion, what are the most pressing ethical issues in your domain related to global food security?

 

In my opinion the most pressing ethical issues involving food safety as part of ensuring food security are:

  • How societal and producer decisions and values about food safety impact those who are food insecure.
  • Understanding the moral obligations of the public sector to ensure safe food for their citizens, and to ensure that various stakeholders along the value chain have the skills and resources needed to ensure the provision of safe food.
  • Clarify the role the public sector plays in monitoring voluntary certification by the private sector.

 

Can you share one issue or anecdote from the Feeding the World, Ethically meeting in Ranco that may have changed your perception on one ethical problem within food and nutrition security?

 

The meeting was full of fascinating discussions.  One ethical problem that I have seen that recurs in food and nutrition security is that policies promoting testing and removing of unsafe food from the food stream, as done in most of the developed world, fails to consider access to substitutes. Cultures grow and prepare foods in different ways which can alter food safety hazards.  Institutional efforts to test and ensure safe food need to develop acceptable solutions for those who are food insecure and in different cultural contexts.

 

 

What is your hope for making progress on this ethical problem?

 

Developing countries are making progress in adopting policies that are not merely cookie-cutter copies of developed-world policies by working with domestic producers and international buyers to craft solutions tailored to the local environment and culture. I am very optimistic that useful lessons can be learned by the public sector from private sector initiatives that work with local suppliers (including smallholders) and effective ways to reach more food insecure populations will be created.

 


 

Global Food Ethics Project: Feeding the World Fairly

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