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It has been announced that the U.S. will not be incorporating sustainability into the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (which are updated every five years). According to a blog-post written by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS Secretary) and Tom Vilsack, Department of Agriculture USDA Secretary, the US government does “not believe that the 2015 DGAs are the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation about sustainability.” The two argue that although the final recommendations are still being drafted, the final guidelines should remain within the mandate in the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA); to provide “nutritional and dietary information and guidelines”… “based on the preponderance of the scientific and medical knowledge.”
Denmark, has according to a new government report (only available in Danish) managed to reduce food waste by 25% in 5 years, measured in amount (kg) per consumer. Consumer information campaigns are considered to be one of the major factors for the success.
Photo credit: Getty images
The German car giant Volkswagen has admitted that they have cheated in emissions tests in the US. Since 2009, Volkswagen has been installing elaborate software in 482,000 "clean diesel" vehicles sold in the US and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these cars had devices in their diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The cars' pollution controls would then only work when being tested for emissions.
A row over its Arctic drilling programme has culminated in oil giant Shell leaving the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group. This is a network of European business leaders advocating for climate action including GlaxoSmithKline, Tesco and Unilever.
Officials in Mumbai have imposed a four day ban on the slaughter and sale of meat. The ban was introduced after increasing pressure from the vegetarian Jain community - a financially very powerful community in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
A large proportion of supermarket food is thrown away every day regardless of quality, to avoid legal liability if a customer complains. In France, the government has now taken a firm step to incentivise food donation by removing the liability from the supermarkets. By barring stores from spoiling and throwing away food the government aims to tackle waste alongside food poverty. The measure follows a decision from February 2015 to remove the best-before dates on fresh foods and it is part of a wider drive to halve the amount of food waste in France by 2025. The bill will also ban supermarkets from deliberately spoiling unsold food so it cannot be eaten and the law will also introduce an education programme about food waste in schools and businesses.
This brief argues that rooftop gardens in cities could supply cities with more than three quarters of their vegetable requirements. The brief from the European Commission is based on evidence from a case study from Bologna, Italy.
This short article discusses policies for achieving food security and environmental objectives in China. Rural development has been placed at the top of the policy agenda in China but recently the Chinese leadership has also included an ambition to achieve environmental sustainability. This is presented as part of the plans for an “ecological civilization”, presented at the 18th Plenary Congress of the Communist Party of China.
The China Meat Association (CMA) is now calling on the Chinese government to actively support the beef and lamb sector. Prices for beef and lamb have increased more than 10% in the past decade, fuelled by China’s runaway economic growth. As Chinese consumers’ income and standard of living improves, demand for red meat has grown.
Beef has now been banned in the state of Maharashtra in India. India is a country where 80% of the population is Hindu, and where cows are revered. The ban has generated much criticism and the hashtag #BeefBan has fast become one of the world's top trending hashtags.
Volume 57.2 of Development - the quarterly journal of the Society for International Development - was produced in the lead-up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). It explores the relationship between nutrition, food security and sustainable agriculture.
The 2015 USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has published a report that sets out its revised dietary recommendations to encourage Americans to eat more healthily, and this time the recommendations also take account of environmental sustainability considerations. The report, Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Advisory Report) will be reviewed by the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal government will determine how it will use the information in the Advisory Report as the government develops the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 to be released later this year.
The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a report based on their newly developed Global Calculator tool.
The online magazine The Local in Denmark reports that The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries in Denmark has launched a new strategy to double organic farming and serve more organic food in national public institutions. The government has set a goal of doubling the amount of organic farming by 2020 compared to 2007. The nation’s public institutions serve some 800,000 meals every single day.
This article from Nasdaq describes what they call a “shocking” reduction in meat consumption and how this may impact the meat industry and other sectors. The potential catalyst they argue is the release of preliminary recommendations from the committee of medical and nutrition experts involved in developing USDA dietary guidelines.
This report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee focuses on food security. The report makes recommendations for managing consumer demand, such as by encouraging the purchase of sustainably sourced products or the most nutritious food in order to help deliver environmental and health goals. It does not argue that there should be any further degree of compulsion on individuals.
This commentary from Confectionary news argues that suppliers of ingredients should set targets to achieve fully sustainable cocoa and it states that standardisation is crucial since more than 80% of the produced cocoa in the world is now unaccounted for. The article states that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will be introducing a voluntary joint standard for traceable and sustainable cocoa in 2016.
The latest survey by the Food Standards Agency presents results on reported behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food safety issues. It provides data on people’s reports of their food purchasing, storage, preparation, consumption and factors that may affect these, such as eating habits, influences on where people choose to eat out and experiences of food poisoning.
Advocates of the alternative food movement often insist that food is our "common ground" – that through the very basic human need to eat, we all become entwined in a network of mutual solidarity. In this book, the author explores the contradictions and shortcomings of alternative food activism by examining specific endeavours of the movement through various lenses of social difference – including class, race, gender, and age.