The United States has fallen a few places in the latest rankings of a report that measures food security.

The study from Economist Impact put Finland at the top, followed by Ireland, Norway and France. Canada was seventh and the United Kingdom was ninth. The United States dropped to 13th from ninth in the previous edition.

The 11th Global Food Security Index (GFSI) covers food affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation across 113 countries. Indicators are used to do this and one change to the latest version is considering relevant food safety legislation.

Based solely on the quality and safety metric, Canada was first and the United States was third. The UK was 29th.

GFSI data for the United States suggests that it needs to improve policy commitments around food security and access by establishing a food security agency and implementing a related strategy.

Pratima Singh, principal of policy and insights at Economist Impact, said issues such as the Ukraine conflict and high food prices, are stressing an already fragile food system.

“The 2022 Global Food Security Index highlights the crucial impact of structural issues and risks to food security such as volatility in agricultural production, trade and supply-chain disruption, scarcity of natural resources, and increasing economic inequality. Building long-term, systemic resilience should be a priority if the larger trend toward greater food insecurity worldwide is to be reversed.”

Climate change impact
The least food-secure countries are conflict zones and face severe climate risks. Syria is at the bottom of the list, followed by Haiti and Yemen. A difference between the top performer and the country at the bottom has continued to widen since 2019. 

There are big jumps in scores for pest infestation and disease mitigation policies.

The index, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, shows governments are not prepared for the increase in extreme weather like this summer’s heatwaves across Europe and North America and flooding in Pakistan. It found water management techniques and existing irrigation systems that can help manage the effects of climate change are lacking.

Increasing food prices, rising global hunger, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine and Russia conflict are also mentioned.

There were falls in nutritional standards, such as national nutrition plans and monitoring. About a third of countries have no national nutrition plan or strategy in 2022, nearly double the number that lacked one in 2019. Also, 25 of 113 countries are not regularly monitoring the nutritional status of their population compared with 15 in 2019. Without such work, policymakers cannot identify nutritional deficiencies and deploy resources where needed.

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