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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.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide last year grew at the fastest rate since 1984, says a BBC news article. Reporting on data released by the World Meteorological Organisation, the article describes how this increase in concentration is due not only to increased greenhouse gas emissions, but also to a reduced carbon uptake by the biosphere. This reduction could be temporary, or it could be an indication that the biosphere has reached its absorption limit. The article points out that seas, trees, and living things, which play an important role by absorbing over half of the total greenhouse gas emissions, are also breaking records; the oceans soak up about 4kg of CO2 per person every day, a rate unparalleled over the last 300 million years and resulting in unprecedented salination of the oceans.
This paper on sustainable diets, published in Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, provides evidence on the most effective ways to influence consumers to adopt sustainable diets. The evidence comes from a pilot study on a group of 163 Australians who would be expected to be ‘early adopters’ of a sustainable diet (due to their higher than average education and income).
The The Human Dynamics of Climate Change map has been created in a joint effort by scientists and policymakers and it shows how climate change could affect people all over the world by the end of the century if carbon emissions continue unabated.
As part of a new food and drink buying standard, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that from 2017 all of central government will commit to source public sector food locally.
This study published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in the journal Environmental Research Letters analyses the water footprint of agricultural production and consumption in Europe. It looks at the net virtual water import of 365 European river basins for the period between 1996-2005 based on two diet scenarios – a healthy diet based upon food-based dietary guidelines and a vegetarian diet.
In this feature on Food Choices & Health, the United States Department of Agriculture and Economic Research Service (ERS) discusses food loss and food waste and points out the distinction in meaning between the two. They describe food loss as includes moisture loss and cooking shrinkage; loss from mould, pests, or inadequate climate control; and food waste.
A senatorial report in France is now pushing for the implementation of a fast food or ‘behavioural’ tax. The tax would target products linked to heart disease, focusing in particular on soft drinks. The report 'Taxation and public health: evaluation of behavioural taxation' argues that a behavioural tax would help combat the surge in diet related diseases and associated costs.
This EU brief looks at a recent study assessing the social environmental impacts of agricultural imports to EU from other, often less developed countries. The EU has thus picked up on an important study assessing Europen diets' contribution to excessive land-use in countries outside of the European Union. FCRN has previously highlighted this study (Balancing virtual land imports by a shift in the diet. Using a land balance approach to assess the sustainability of food consumption).
This paper by Drew Schindell from NASA's ’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies looks at climate change trends and tries to explain the much publicised and contested slowdown in global surface temperatures since 1998.
Climate policy progress assessment concludes that many countries are advancing to cut emissions at a similar rate as the UK. A report by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE international) argues that only a "handful of countries" have not yet engaged with climate change as a policy problem or fail to see it as a legislative priority. Analysing the climate legislation of 66 countries (together accounting for 88 percent of greenhouse gas emissions) it finds that 62 of them have a 'flagship law'. And contrary to commonly held perceptions, it is not just rich countries that are introducing laws to tackle emissions. Countries including Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Kenya are also taking firm legal measures.
The Nordic countries collaborate in setting guidelines for dietary composition and recommended intakes of nutrients. Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012 is their 5th and latest publication. The recommendations emphasize food patterns and nutrient intakes that, in combination with sufficient and varied physical activity, are optimal for development and function of the body and that contribute to a reduced risk of certain diet-associated diseases.
The Danish Council of Ethics has launched an English version of its report on the ethical challenges associated with bioenergy production. The “Report on bioenergy, food production, and ethics in a globalised world” considers the production of bioenergy in a situation characterized by several major global crises - energy, food, climate and natural resources. Some forms of bioenergy may be a tool in battling the energy crisis and the climate crisis. However, growing energy crops may compete with food production and nature for scarce resources and thereby counter solutions to the equally acute crises concerning food and natural resources. The main focus of the report is thus on the ways bioenergy competes with food production and nature for scarce resources. The Council focuses also on the values that determine the choice of strategy in regard to countering these four challenges and points out that ethical deliberations should be more made more explicit in political decision-making related to major global crises.