Food Safety and Security are two faces of the coin

Food safety and security are two different, but closely related concepts. Although part of the same aspect, they vary in their application and meaning. Both are equally important in ensuring that populations of the world get food that is sufficient and nutritious. Food safety and security are complete without each other. Food safety complements food security, and vice versa.


Food safety

Food safety is essentially about the safety of the ingredients that go into food. If food is being sourced from a farm, the food makers have to ensure that the farm has ensured safety standards in producing this food.

Food safety is concerned about the amount of chemicals and fertilizers used in production of food. It is also concerned with how much residual pesticide, which could cause harm to humans when the food that is grown using it, is left in the final product, and so on.


Food safety is related to and is dependent on factors such as demographics, inputs that go into the cultivation and production of food, availability of water for production of safe food, the use of energy sources in the safe production of food, climate change, etc.

Now, food security

Food security, on the other hand, is about more about the food supply chain. When food arrives from the producer to the consumer, it goes through a complex chain that can many times span entire continents. Food may also be sourced and consumed locally. In either case, there is a need to ensure that the points that food travels in and reaches are secure.

Ensuring quality throughout

The aim of food security is to ensure that food which travels through many chains and stages should be clean at all these stages. This means that security has to be ensured from rodents and other forms of disturbances at the agricultural fields in which food is produced, then at the granaries in which it is stored, at the routes that it travels, then at the location at which food is prepared out of the raw material, i.e. homes, hotels or other eateries.

Food security is about supply

Food security is also concerned with another aspect of food: that of ensuring that humans get adequate food. Food security in this sense concerns itself with the following aspects, according to the FAO:

  • Availability
  • Access
  • Utilization
  • Stability

Waste is a major portion of food security

Very importantly, food safety is also concerned with another critical aspect of food –waste. Food security, since it is an integral part of the food chain, is also about what proportion of food goes waste and how this can be channelized and distributed from the areas in which it is wasted to areas in which there is shortage of food supply.

So, seen in this larger sense, food safety and security are two closely intertwined aspects of food. Food safety and security are thus two deeply interrelated and interconnected aspects of food.