What must be done to ensure tomorrow’s food security?
MV: As a global food manufacturer, we believe we have a responsibility to help solve food safety issues. Our goal is to support the well-being of people throughout the global food supply chain by helping to ensure safe food for all.
Our vision is a holistic systems approach, where regulators, universities, industry partners and non-governmental organizations come together to share relevant data and critical information to develop the latest scientific capabilities in areas such as mycotoxin detection , good agricultural practices and data analysis. Only by working together and sharing best practices can we help ensure food security for all.
VERSUS: Food security is at the heart of all WFP operations around the world. What we distribute is often a very literal lifeline and so we have a huge responsibility to ensure food is safe from production into the hands of those we serve. If it’s not safe, it’s not food.
Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked, as unsafe food helps fuel the vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition. The unprecedented humanitarian crisis triggered by the conflict in Ukraine is having far-reaching consequences: rising food and fuel prices and disrupting global supply chains. The impact on food security – especially in countries already struggling with conflict and climate change – is severe.
Together with our partners like Mars, we identify and monitor risks, particularly of complex and specialized foods, as the WFP food basket adapts to meet changing needs, ensuring that all food we deliver is safe. Investing in capacity building, purchasing food and implementing resilience programs at the local level enables sustainable economic development while engaging with stakeholders – including vulnerable communities – and information sharing is important because a local food incident can quickly escalate into an international emergency. By doing so, we can tackle the root causes of hunger, enabling the most vulnerable to support themselves.
Future generations are the farmers, innovators and food producers of tomorrow. Empowering young people to actively reshape food systems is a stepping stone towards a sustainable, nutritious and secure future for all.
How does the partnership between Mars and WFP support this?
MV: As a company, we realized early on that with one simple, small change, we could share information with partners such as the WFP to help improve food security and food security for everyone – simply by sharing and building on this experience. It is this exchange of experiences, capacities and ideas, and not just the financial support, that enables everyone.
Mars has partnered with WFP since 2015 to provide scientific and policy advice and training on food safety and quality assurance to help improve the resilience of supply chains across Africa. We helped WFP develop and deploy a food incident management protocol and provided expert training to WFP staff on topics such as good agricultural practices and pest management. This brings benefits not only to strengthen food security in the countries where WFP works, but also helps to raise the bar for operational food security globally by increasing capacities throughout the food chain on which we work. let’s all count.
VERSUS: Effective food safety and quality systems are essential not only to protect the health and well-being of people. These systems are also essential for fostering economic development and improving livelihoods by supporting access to national, regional and international markets. Through our collaboration with Mars and the exchange of information with Mars food security experts, we can raise the bar for global food security.
Sharing best practices from Mars Food Safety experts through our partnership has helped WFP prevent food safety incidents. We rely on Mars to share its knowledge and expertise to help us continually improve our processes, allowing us to better anticipate and respond to all the challenges we face. This allows WFP to ensure that all food distributed is safe and of high quality, thereby saving more lives.
During the COVID-19 response, WFP consulted with Mars to adapt our work around COVID-19 restrictions, including co-developing standards for auditing suppliers remotely when travel was not possible , and revising food packaging safety communications. In this way, our partnership with Mars has been a key supporting element in promoting better food safety practices within our organization and means that we will be better able to secure food for future generations.