Food Toxicity – It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

Sustainable farming and healthy eating are no longer the domain of greenies or bunny-huggers, this is the future of the human food supply chain. It’s no longer good enough to dump mountains of fertiliser on fields and hope that the yields will improve to match demand, because firstly, it doesn’t and secondly, the toxicity in our food is increasing, thanks in part to phosphate fertiliser.  The movement to achieve sustainable farming and healthy eating is cognisant that global food demand is projected to increase by 60% towards 2050. This is a real issue and affects all people the world over.

In October 2022 Biznews published an alarming article “Big Agriculture isn’t concerned with the toxicity in our food”, written by Dr Joseph Mercola. The thrust of the article is that:

  • Toxicity in food comes from several sources. Toxic influences during the plants’ growth phase include phosphate fertiliser (which has a radioactive component), waste sludge and glyphosate.
  • Up to 90% of the phosphorus is lost through the supply chain from mining to final fertiliser, and the losses are poorly documented, making it difficult to improve efficiency and prevent losses — which ultimately end up as pollution.

This is at the heart of what drives RedSun Hortitech – finding means to contribute towards a safe, sustainable food supply. With the rising demand for food, the only way for agriculture to sustainably meet that demand is by using innovative AgriTech and excellent genetics. The days of extravagant use of fertilisers are over, and not only because fertiliser component phosphate is a finite resource. With an estimated 90% loss from mine to fork, phosphate is polluting water sources and damaging aquatic systems. Phosphate pollution in water often creates ‘dead zones’, areas where little or no marine life can survive. It doesn’t make sense to destroy one food source to artificially stimulate another.

The global food production system uses 53 million tonnes of phosphate fertilizers annually, processed from 270 million tonnes of mined phosphate rock. Mark Hassenkamp, Managing Director RedSun Hortitech, says “If you can measure it, you can manage it; but it starts with awareness.” His view is echoed by Eduard Nedelciu, researcher at the Department of Physical Geography at Stockholm University. “Cradle-to-grave reporting along the phosphorus supply chain (and in time to come, the whole food supply chain) will reveal the untold story about the social, environmental, ethical and economic price we pay for the food we see on our supermarket shelves. It can also help countries — most of which are dependent on phosphate imports — tailor better policies to decrease the vulnerability of their agricultural sector”, he writes in a new study conducted by Stockholm University and the University of Iceland.

The four fundamentals of a sustainable farming enterprise – price, yield, cost and quality, are reliant on finding new ways to deliver better food, better yields, better quality at a lower cost for a better price. What got us to this point doesn’t take us forwards, new thinking and techniques are required.