Stop the brain drain – Why we need stored-product protection research for food safety
In the history of human development, stored-product protection (SPP) is probably older than the invention of agriculture because even what was hunted and gathered needed to be stored to provide food for the bad days. One may think that the human race had enough time to find out everything that could be found out on SPP. But this is not the case. SPP problems often require a solution custom-made for the given product or storage situation, climate, socio-economic background, etc. Modern SPP research in the Americas, Asia, Europe, or Oceania was often started as a result of World War I or II, when hunger was an issue. But, with the absence of hunger, we witness another scary development: SPP research is dying out, institutions are closed down, e.g., CSL UK 2009, SGRL Australia 2009, DPIL Denmark 2010, INRA France 2015. Yes, research costs money. But, do we take into account that climate change may already have led to increased numbers of conflicts and increased mobility? That a lack of food safety can tear apart all advances of civilization and culture in the brink of a moment? Why are there no calls for SPP research under Horizon 2020? What happened to the Millenium Goal to cut down hunger by 50%? The FAO states that one third of our grains are lost between harvest and consumption. It is high time to improve food storages and SPP methods using all knowledge and technology available in order to reduce losses, it is high time to support international SPP research!