“Food safety is likely to play an increasingly important role in the future. As awareness of the risks of obesity grows, consumers are seeking more diverse diets. Increasing demand for perishable foods like fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products (in turn reducing carbohydrate intake) is resulting in an increased need for food safety infrastructure, such as cold chains,” according to the index.
Pratima Singh, project lead for the GFSI at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, have tested the food system and exposed vulnerabilities.
“We need to address the structural inequalities — economic, social and environmental — that were a fundamental feature of the pandemic. Governments and policymakers, NGOs, and the private sector all have a role to play as we aim to recover from the impact of COVID-19 on economies and food systems and invest in innovation to strengthen our global food environment,” said Singh.
The overall global food security environment deteriorated for the second year in a row in 2020. Using the new methodology, 62 countries saw their performance drop compared with 2019.
Finland tops the rankings, followed by Ireland, Netherlands and Austria with Czech Republic, the UK, Israel and Japan all above the U.S. Singapore, which had been top for the previous two years, fell to 19th. However, Yemen remains one of the least food secure countries with heightening fears of a famine while Sudan, Zambia, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia are all near the bottom.
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