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U.S. Not No. 1 in Food Safety

July 16, 2012
By: Guest Editor, Farm Journal

Source: Michael Fielding,

Despite the ongoing outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States -- most recently hundreds of illnesses linked to E. coli and salmonella in seafood and product -- the United States is among the top three countries in both food quality and safety. This according to the Food Security Index,  released last week by DuPont and developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

France and Israel topped the United States in the food quality and safety category. Other risks and factors that the index measures that drive food security are affordability and availability.

The United States ranks fourth in availability, with the score largely affected by the volatility of agricultural production, according to the report.

Interestingly, the report indicates that the most food secure nations score less well for micronutrient availability. Of the top ten countries in the index overall, only France ranks in the top ten for micronutrient availability. For many advanced economies, it is among their weakest scores. Germany, for example, ranks 10th overall but 43rd for micronutrients.

Protein quality correlates highly with overall food security, according to the report. "To provide a comprehensive assessment of protein intake—one that includes protein absorbed from foods, such as legumes, whole grains, meat and dairy—the Economist Intelligence Unit uses a unique quantitative assessment of protein quality in diets. It is calculated by assessing the presence of nine essential amino acids in the average national diet.


"Three Mediterranean countries—Israel, Greece and Portugal—fare best on this indicator. Latin American countries also do well, particularly upper middle income countries."


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