In August 2012, a literature search with the aim of describing indicators on food and water security in an Arctic health context was initialized in collaboration between the Arctic Human Health Expert Group, SDWG/AHHEG and the AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme within the Arctic Council) Human Health Assessment Group, AMAP/HHAG. In December 2012, workshop discussions were performed with representatives from both of these organizations, including 7 Arctic countries. The aim of this article is to describe the workshop discussions and the rational for the 12 indicators selected and the 9 rejected and to discuss the potential feasibility of these. Advantages and disadvantages of candidate indicators were listed. Informative value and costs for collecting were estimated separately on a 3-level scale: low, medium and high. Based on these reviews, the final selection of promoted and rejected indicators was performed and summarized in tables. Among 10 suggested indicators of food security, 6 were promoted: healthy weight, traditional food proportion in diet, monetary food costs, non-monetary food accessibility, food-borne diseases and food-related contaminants. Four were rejected: per-person dietary energy supply, food security modules, self-estimated food safety and healthy eating. Among 10 suggested indicators of water security, 6 were promoted: per-capita renewable water, accessibility of running water, waterborne diseases, drinking-water-related contaminants, authorized water quality assurance and water safety plans. Four were rejected: water consumption, types of water sources, periodic water shortages and household water costs.
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Problems related to food security in Russian Arctic (dietary imbalance, predominance of carbohydrates, shortage of milk products, vegetables and fruits, deficit of vitamins and microelements, chemical, infectious and parasitic food contamination) have been defined in the literature. But no standard protocol of food security assessment has been used in the majority of studies.
Our aim was to obtain food security indicators, identified within an Arctic collaboration, for selected regions of the Russian Arctic, Siberia and the Far East, and to compare food safety in these territories.
In 18 regions of the Russian Arctic, Siberia and the Far East, the following indicators of food security were analyzed: food costs, food consumption, and chemical and biological food contamination for the period 2000-2011.
Food costs in the regions are high, comprising 23-43% of household income. Only 4 out of 10 food groups (fish products, cereals, sugar, plant oil) are consumed in sufficient amounts. The consumption of milk products, eggs, vegetables, potatoes, fruits (and berries) is severely low in a majority of the selected regions. There are high levels of biological contamination of food in many regions. The biological and chemical contamination situation is alarming, especially in Chukotka. Only 7 food pollutants are under regular control; among pesticides, only DDT. Evenki AO and Magadan Oblast have reached peak values in food contaminants compared with other regions. Mercury in local fish has not been analyzed in the majority of the regions. In 3 regions, no monitoring of DDT occurs. Aflatoxins have not been analyzed in 5 regions. Nitrates had the highest percentage in excess of the hygienic threshold in all regions. Excesses of other pollutants in different regions were episodic and as a rule not high.
Improvement of the food supply and food accessibility in the regions of the Russian Arctic, Siberia and the Far East is of utmost importance. Both quantitative and qualitative control of chemical and biological contaminants in food is insufficient and demands radical enhancement aimed at improving food security.
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