The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) reports on the role the chemical sciences have in sustainable food production.

A restaurant menu

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As part of this year's food theme for the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) public engagement activities, this month will see the launch of the report The vital ingredient: chemical science and engineering for sustainable food production. Produced by the RSC and the Institution for Chemical Engineers (IChemE), the report is aimed at funding bodies, policy makers and industry and highlights the vital role the chemical sciences have to play in the development of technologies necessary for sustainable food production to feed the growing global population.  

The report emphasises that a good supply of highly trained people with scientific and technical backgrounds are essential to meet these challenges. However, the UK food and drink manufacturing industry struggles to recruit sufficient graduates, in part because of a lack of understanding of the variety of careers in food-related industries. The report calls for better advice and resources on careers in modern food production for secondary school students, and for the profile and image of careers in the food sector industries to be promoted through more work experience placements, teaching placements, careers events and the media. The report also recommends that the food sector industries build closer links with universities and their students to ensure graduates have the appropriate skills to deliver sustainable food production solutions.  

The year's food theme will conclude with the RSC's national Chemistry Week in 2009 which will run from 7-15 November. Organised by the RSC and its network of local sections, this biannual initiative aims to promote a positive image of chemistry and to highlight the important role chemistry plays in our everyday lives.  

From the end of January the food report will be available to download.