Towards strategies to adapt to pressures on safety of fresh produce due to climate change

K.K. Kirezieva, L. Jacxsens, T. van Boekel, P.A. Luning*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This article outlines the findings from a Delphi study aimed to generate insights from a systems perspective about responding to climate change in terms of food safety of fresh produce. The study identified pressures to food safety of fresh produce at primary production, related to contamination of water sources and production environment with microorganisms, pesticide residues, mycotoxins and heavy metals due to heavy rainfalls and floods, droughts, increased temperature and change in seasonality, as results of climate change. First response to these pressures is realised by the core control activities implemented at farm, and depends on their current implementation and actual operation. The experts highlighted the need to strengthen activities, such as water control (including water treatment and quality monitoring), irrigation method, pesticide management (and pre-harvest intervals), personal hygiene requirements and (cold) storage control. Validating the effectiveness of control activities for the changed circumstances, guidance and training to the farmers was emphasized. Moreover, response strategies were proposed for farms to cope with the pressures immediately after occurring and to adapt long-term with support at the community level. The participating experts represented countries from the global north with industrialised food systems, and from the global south — with structured and traditional food systems. They assessed the likelihood of most pressures as higher for the countries from the global south, which was explained by existing response strategies in the global north. It was proposed that the adaptive and coping capacities of companies, regions and sectors are determined by the currently available adaptation and coping strategies. The pressures to food safety can differ per company, supply chain, region and sector due to variability of current climate vulnerabilities, control activities, and adaptive capacity. This paper argues that future adaptation actions should take into account the context of countries, sectors and companies, thus, focus on improving adaptive capacity from a systems perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-107
JournalFood Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • waterborne disease outbreaks
  • escherichia-coli o157-h7
  • extreme weather events
  • food safety
  • pesticide-residues
  • aflatoxin contamination
  • mycotoxin contamination
  • sustainable development
  • foodborne illness
  • united-states


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