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Pesticides, Environment, And Food Safety

F. Carvalho
Published 2017 · Business

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Agrochemicals have enabled to more than duplicate food production during the last century, and the current need to increase food production to feed a rapid growing human population maintains pressure on the intensive use of pesticides and fertilizers. However, worldwide surveys have documented the contamination and impact of agrochemical residues in soils, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including coastal marine systems, and their toxic effects on humans and nonhuman biota. Although persistent organic chemicals have been phased out and replaced by more biodegradable chemicals, contamination by legacy residues and recent residues still impacts on the quality of human food, water, and environment. Current and future increase in food production must go along with production of food with better quality and with less toxic contaminants. Alternative paths to the intensive use of crop protection chemicals are open, such as genetically engineered organisms, organic farming, change of dietary habits, and development of food technologies. Agro industries need to further develop advanced practices to protect public health, which requires more cautious use of agrochemicals through prior testing, careful risk assessment, and licensing, but also through education of farmers and users in general, measures for better protection of ecosystems, and good practices for sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture. Enhanced scientific research for new developments in food production and food safety, as well as for environmental protection, is a necessary part of this endeavor. Furthermore, worldwide agreement on good agriculture practices, including development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their release for international agriculture, may be urgent to ensure the success of safe food production.
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