Global food storage is exposed to significant dangers following a rise in global temperatures. Farmers and food processor companies require foods to stay in their fresh state for several days, if not months, after harvesting. Most farmers store their food in spaces that do not require any special equipment. However, with rising global temperatures, these spaces are becoming increasingly delicate.
One Michigan farmer, Brian Sackett, told the Associated Press that the rising temperatures in recent years have made food storage a problem. Sackett, along with other farmers in Michigan, produces the crops needed for about one-quarter of all U.S. potato chips. When farmers harvest their potatoes, they have to store them for a number of days before the crops are processed into potato chips.
Sackett explained that he was forced to spend approximately $125,000 on a refrigerator that will help store potatoes. Higher temperatures cause farm harvests to spoil quicker than usual, making operations difficult for most farmers. For a long time, farmers relied on the cool air in Michigan to keep their potatoes fresh all the way until late spring. However, the period in which potatoes can be stored naturally is increasingly getting smaller.
“Our good, fresh, cool air is getting less all the time, it seems like,” Sackett said.
The new refrigerator on Sackett’s farm was produced by Techmark Inc., a company that engineers agricultural equipment. The company management said that due to increasing temperatures, farmers will have to rely on such technologies to keep their food products fresh. While refrigerators have long been used in farming to store produce, in a situation where natural storage is possible, operation costs are lowered. For farmers that must shift to refrigeration, such equipment could lead to a spike in food prices.
“Whose pocket is it going to come out of? Probably the consumer,” said Courtney Leisner, plant physiology scientist at Auburn University. “There’s a big disconnect in our minds about the chain of events between the field and the grocery store and onto our plate. Just a few degrees can make all the difference in whether it’s economical to store the fruits and vegetables that we expect to have on our dinner table 365 days a year.”
Via AP News
Image via René Schaubhut