A food “lifeboat”: food and nutrition considerations in the event of a pandemic or other catastrophe

Anna Haug, Jennie C Brand-Miller, Olav A Christophersen, Jennifer McArthur, Flavia Fayet and Stewart Truswell
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01471.x
Published online: 3 December 2007

Large catastrophes have caused the collapse of empires and civilisations.1 Science and knowledge may help prevent some catastrophes, but urbanisation and narrowly concentrated food supplies, climate change and terrorism contribute to considerable risk. Viruses responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza A (H5N1) or “bird flu” are among the most immediately identifiable risks. The World Health Organization has stated that the risk scenario associated with an outbreak of pandemic H5N1 influenza should be considered more serious than was previously assumed.2

  • 1 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Ragnhild Schibbyes, Oslo, Norway.

Competing interests:

None identified.

  • 1. Weiss H, Bradley RS. What drives societal collapse? Science 2001; 291: 609-610.
  • 2. World Health Organization. Influenza research at the human and animal interface. Report of a WHO working group. Geneva: WHO, 2006. (accessed Mar 2007).
  • 3. Duerr HP, Brockmann SO, Piechotowski I, et al. Influenza pandemic intervention planning using InfluSim: pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical interventions. BMC Infect Dis 2007; 7: 76-90.
  • 4. Chiang JC, Koutavas A. Climate change: tropical flip-flop connections. Nature 2004; 432: 684-685.
  • 5. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, National Health and Medical Research Council, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand including recommended dietary intakes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2006. (accessed Jun 2007).


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