Knowledge for better food systems

Fodder: The FCRN Newsletter

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Network updates

In Fodder this week

This week, we have several items from FCRN members:

Research library

Image: Vladimir Kirakosyan, SAS Supermarket - interior, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The global supermarket sector's commitments to protect public health are “generally disappointing”, finds FCRN member Claire Pulker of Curtin University. However, some progress is being made address food waste, assure food safety and quality, and support selection of healthy foods.

Image: Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, May Beef Month, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

This editorial in The Lancet argues that countries and people should “limit their consumption of intensively farmed meats”, discusses recent papers on the environmental and health impacts of meat production and consumption, and points out that policies to reduce meat consumption may have to be tailored to different contexts.

Image: Marco Verch, White bowl filled with black beans, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

FCRN member Helen Harwatt outlines a three-step strategy for shifting from animal to plant proteins as part of climate change mitigation strategies, arguing that not acting on livestock emissions would require unrealistically ambitious emissions cuts in other sectors.

Image: grfx4, Lobster Maine crustacean, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons

This paper describes eight examples where open-access property regimes do not lead to the well-known “tragedy of the commons” - i.e. overexploitation of the public resource - and outlines conditions that contribute to sustainable use of common-pool resources.

In this report, the InterAcademy Partnership expresses concern over the current state of global food systems and nutrition, and also identifies science-based initiatives that could contribute to solutions.

In this report, the Food Ethics Council analyses the 2018 Food Sustainability Index (view interactive graphics here), which ranked the UK 16th out of 28 European Union countries and 24th out of 67 countries when averaged across a range of food sustainability indicators.

The Food Research Collaboration argues in this report that every form of Brexit (for non UK readers, this is the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union) will affect the UK’s food supply, and that Local Authorities should set up “food resilience teams” to assess local risks to food provision.

The US Global Change Research Programme has published the second volume of its Fourth National Climate Assessment, which examines the human welfare, societal, and environmental impacts of climate change and variability across many sectors, including agriculture.

This book, edited by Charis Galanakis, describes many different aspects of saving food and food security throughout the supply chain, including raising awareness, redistribution, policy, food conservation, cold chain, supply chain management, and waste reduction and recovery.

Image: Maximilian Paradiz, Bean Burger, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Dutch government-funded healthy eating agency Voedingscentrum has launched a new campaign encouraging men who eat a lot of meat to reduce their consumption. FCRN member Corné van Dooren says that men, on average, could eat 400g less meat per week to meet guidelines, while women could eat 100g less.

Image: Free-Photos, Pig animal snout, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons

Facial recognition could be used on pig farms in China to provide individualised feeding plans. The artificial intelligence system, created by a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce company JD, can also track a pig’s growth, physical condition and vaccinations over its lifespan.

The Food Ethics Council has created a new website about food citizenship, aimed at changemakers in the food and farming system, arguing that it is easier to influence the food system when people think of themselves as citizens rather than consumers.


FCRN member Hanna Tuomisto of the Future Sustainable Food Systems group at the University of Helsinki is looking for a PhD student for a three year fixed-term scholarship to study environmental impacts of cultured meat by using consequential life cycle assessment.

Cultured meat (i.e. in vitro meat, artificial meat or laboratory-grown meat) is produced by cultivating animal cells in a nutrition medium by using tissue-engineering technologies. This project will develop consequential life cycle assessment methods for comparing environmental impacts of cultured meat with livestock meat and plant based meat substitutes.

Applicants should have a relevant masters degree (e.g. in environmental sciences, engineering, agriculture or economics) and have good English language skills.

For more information, see here. The deadline for applications is 15 Dec 2018.

The Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University is inviting applications for a position as assistant professor or researcher in metabolomics and bioinformatics in farm animals. The main activity will be to conduct and develop research, research-based teaching and to contribute as an expert consultant to the Danish authorities.

Candidates should have at least two years’ experience at postdoc level with a relevant research profile and a strong scientific publication record.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 2 January 2019.

The UK Global Food Security (GFS) programme is hiring a strategy and policy manager to drive forward strategic priorities and work packages, influencing the delivery of funding for food security research programmes and overseeing GFS’s Strategy Advisory Board and Food System Resilience Programme.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 6 January 2018.

Applications are open for the IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ Competition run by the Institute of Food Technologists. The competition is designed to help emerging and investment-ready food companies advance the science of food and recognize the innovations having a positive impact on our global food supply. Finalists will be chosen to share their innovations in a pitch competition at IFT19 in New Orleans, June 2-5. The challenge is open to international applicants.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 10 January 2019.

FAO and the Government of Switzerland are calling on individuals, private companies or institutions to submit a nomination for one of the following categories:

For more details, see here. The deadline is 28 February 2019.

The Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London is offering an MPhil/PhD in food policy, which looks at the role of food in society and its impact on health, environment, social justice and economy.

For more details, see here. No deadline is specified. Admissions take place in September each year.


Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming will hold its annual general meeting on 12 December 2018, followed by a public networking event with guest speakers. The topic of discussion will be: How the Government's new National Food Strategy deliver on Sustain’s aims?

For more details, see here.

Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum will host the event “Priorities for the UK food and drink industry - competitiveness, supply chains and trade” on 13 December 2018. Discussion will include competitiveness, support for the industry after Brexit, workforce, research, supply chain management, sustainability and international relationships and trade.

For more details, see here.

Cranfield University will run a DEFRA-funded workshop in Bristol on 21 January 2019 on the topic of optimising the use of organic amendments for sustainable intensification of UK agricultural systems.

The workshop is free to attend and is aimed at farmers, policy makers, waste management companies, fertiliser companies and researchers.

For more details, see here.

The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza will host a course on food loss and waste reduction and management. Topics will include:

  • The causes and hot spots of food loss and waste
  • The main actors and their initiatives (FAO, WRI, EU, voluntary agreements, etc.)
  • Public and private actions to reduce food loss and waste
  • Quantitative and qualitative assessment tools

The course will run from 21 to 25 January 2019 in Zaragoza, Spain. For more details, see here.