Euractiv.com reports that the US is hoping that the EU will support a new multi-donor
trust fund launched last month to help improve food security in poor
countries. The US government launched a global
hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future (FTF), earlier this month. Follow the links for more details
BBC News reports that the European Commission is planning to take the UK to the European Court of Justice, alleging it pumps too much sewage into the sea.
"The case is expected to be filed within weeks and proceedings will centre on sewerage systems in London and Whitburn in north east England.
But the action is seen as a "test case" against the use of Combined Sewer Overflow pipes (CSOs) around the UK.
There are more than 20,000 pipes in the UK which pump raw sewage into the sea.
The CSOs are supposed to be used in emergencies only, when treatment plants are overwhelmed with storm water".
It has been suggested that the food borne illness outbreak centred on Heston Blumental's restaurant could have been caused by a faecal-oral route with raw oysters as the vehicle.
Nature reports that a recent study has shown that two new forms of a devastating wheat fungus, known as Ug99 stem rust,
have been found in South Africa. Concerningly they are able to overcome the effects of two
resistance genes in wheat that cause plant cells around the infection site to die,
stopping the fungus from further infecting the plant.
The article states that: "They are two of
the most important genes in wheat because they are selected for in
crop-breeding programmes across the world. The discovery of the new
forms marks the first time that the stem rust fungus with virulence
against key genetic resistance has moved south of its origins in Uganda,
east Africa. The presence of new forms of Ug99 in South Africa makes wheat crops in
areas including the Middle East and south Asia vulnerable as the fungus
can now migrate using different wind trajectories."
This is a worrying development that potentially could threaten food security unless alternative resistance varieties are developed.
The Telegraph reports that a team of scientists found that 70 per cent of popular bottled water brands available in shops had high levels of bacteria. The researchers from Ccrest Laboratories in Canada found that tap water had less bacteria than bottled water. "Heterotrophic bacteria counts in some of the bottles were found to be ... one hundred times more than the permitted limit." The bacteria in bottled water is unlikely to cause illness in healthy individuals but could present a problem to vulnerable groups.
Euractiv.com reports that the EU is due to reform its €50 billion a year farm policy from 2013, and those keen to maintain current spending levels are conscious of the need to link CAP priorities to the bloc's wider economic, social and environmental goals. There are major discussions to take place over the next two years to determine the way forward with payments to the argicultural sector and a whole range of possibilities. Developing a Europe wide solution will prove difficult.
The FAO Media Centre has reported on the FAO Director-General's in his speech to the 27th FAO Regional Conference for Europe in Yerevan, Armenia where he commented on how the economic downturn could affect progress in the last ten years. “FAO studies have shown that the crisis has weakened agriculture, particularly in the countries of Central and East Europe.” In addition, World Bank estimates show that Europe and Central Asia is the region that has been hit hardest by the crisis.
Since 1998, some 50 million people in the Europe and Central Asia region have succeeded in moving out of poverty .. In Central Asia, the number of people suffering from hunger fell by 38 percent from 9.3 million in 2000-2002 to 5.8 million in 2004-2006 .. but sufficient financial resources were needed he said, noting that globally $44 billion a year of Official Development Assistance was required to finance modern inputs, rural infrastructures and technologies for the benefit of small farmers in poor countries.... It was estimated that with sufficient investment, nearly 10 million hectares of arable land could be brought back into cultivation to grow grains and oilseeds in Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine."
The long term impact of the downturn in Europe could be severe for people where food security is still a significant issue.
The FAO Media Centre has announced an online petition calling on people to get angry at the fact that around a billion people suffer from hunger. A yellow whistle works as an icon encouraging people to blow the whistle against hunger. The online petition calls upon governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priority. "We should be extremely angry for the outrageous fact that that our fellow human beings continue to suffer from hunger," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "If you feel the same way, I want you to voice that anger. All of you, rich and poor, young and old, in developing and developed countries, express your anger about world hunger by adding your names to the global 1billion hungry petition at http://www.1billionhungry.org," he said.