Knowledge for better food systems

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6 February 2014

The European Commission released an announcement before Christmas 2013 on new proposals for regulation of animal cloning in the food chain. The proposal argues that farm-animal cloning should be banned in the European Union, along with imports of cloned livestock and the sale of food from such animals. In a report commenting on the new regulation the consultancy ICF GHK argues that in principle the EU could however still produce offspring of clones by importing reproductive material from clones from EU trading regions, and by importing live animals or food products derived from such animals.

19 December 2013

The UK’s Family Food report provides detailed statistics on food and drink purchases, expenditure and the derived nutrient content of those purchases from a large household survey covering the United Kingdom. It looks specifically at the domestic, household level.

Chapters include: purchases and expenditure, energy and nutrient intakes, geographic and demographic comparisons as well as a chapter on dietary trends.

17 September 2013

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York have built a model that looks at the pressure that UK consumption activities place on biodiversity overseas. The model, funded by  Defra, provides a framework for assessing the links between goods and services consumed in the UK but imported from overseas to potential impacts of their production on biodiversity in their country of origin. The model can be used to explore the impacts of over 200 agricultural products (and many other products of non-agricultural systems, e.g. mining, forestry and fisheries), and can break down consumption impacts resulting from demand from specific product groups.

24 July 2013

The UK Government has invested £160 million in a new Agricultural Technologies Strategy.  This Strategy is intended to boost agricultural science and technology and it is aimed at delivering sustainable, healthy and affordable food for future generations. Described by some as new “green revolution,” investments will be focused on developing cutting edge technologies and taking innovative products such as cancer-fighting broccoli from the field to the shopping aisle. The strategy includes £30m for four agri-science research and innovation campuses set up by the Biotechnolocy and Biological Sciences Research Council.

16 July 2013

This report is part of a series of annual progress reports by the Adaptation Sub-Committee to assess how the UK is preparing for the major risks and opportunities from climate change. Together these reports will provide the baseline evidence for the Committee’s statutory report to Parliament on preparedness due in 2015.

24 June 2013

The UK’s Department of Health has launched a new, standardised but voluntary labelling scheme for displaying nutritional information on food products, the aim being to make make it easier for people to make healthier choices. The system when it goes on display will combine red, amber, green colour-coding and nutritional information to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and calories are in food products.

18 June 2013

On June 8 2013, the UK government granted £30 million to HarvestPlus to develop and deliver six biofortified crops to several million farming households in Africa and Asia.

10 June 2013

Greenhouse gases fell by 3.3 % in the EU in 2011, leading to the lowest level of emissions in reports going back to 1990. At the same time the EU experienced a 1.6 % growth in GDP. The decrease in 2011 was also the third largest over this period, according to official data compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and reported by the EU to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

10 June 2013

This report was published on behalf of UK MPs who sit on the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development.  It was launched to coincide with the international event organised by the UK government as part of its presidency of the G8. The event was held for members of the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and focused on: ‘Nutrition for Growth: Beating hunger through nutrition and science.’

22 April 2013

A company wishing to market its product as green in several Member State markets faces a confusing range of choices of methods and initiatives, and might find it needs to apply several of them in order to prove the product's green credentials. This is turning into a barrier for the circulation of green products in the Single Market.

22 April 2013

The latest United States Department of Agriculture report on global trade in livestock and poultry has been published. The report provides a snapshot of the current situation among the major players in world beef, pork, broiler meat, and turkey meat trade. 

15 April 2013

New Zealand’s temperatures are warming, and its weather patterns shifting – trends consistent with those recorded around the globe. While a reliable water source – our surrounding oceans – will protect us from the severe aridity expected in some other parts of the world, it will not insulate land-based sectors from a more intense and variable climate. Temperatures will continue to warm, and carbon dioxide concentrations will increase.

18 March 2013

A report by the European Environment Agency finds that emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the shipping sector have increased substantially in the last two decades, contributing to both climate change and air pollution problems.

18 March 2013

The USDA has published a report entitled Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation. Written by 56 expert authors from Federal service, universities, and non-government organizations, it reviews the evidence available of the expected consequences of climate change on U.S. agriculture, focusing on the next 25 to 100 years.

11 March 2013

A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) describes methods for quantifying environmental pressures caused by European consumption patterns and economic production sectors, and shows the results from this approach.

25 February 2013

The Australian Government has published its new dietary guidelines.  While these have been welcomed by many, the Public Health Association of Australia argues that, among other things, it represents a missed opportunity to incorporate environmental considerations into nutritional advice.

The guidelines are available here.

You can read the PHAA’s press release here.

6 February 2013

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) revealed postgraduate ‘Agriculture and related subjects’ saw the biggest increase in UK university enrolment over the last year. 

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6 February 2013

A report funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) identifies the ‘hotspots’ where zoonoses impose significant burdens, but also where zoonoses management is targeted at poor livestock keepers and consumers. The report maps emerging zoonoses as distinct from other emerging disease events, provides maps of regional agroecosystems, and summarises numbers of livestock, people and poor livestock keepers by system as well as by zoonoses context.

29 January 2013

The European Commission has released a report entitled: Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU from 2012-2022.  The report predicts that total meat production in the EU is expected to decline by 2% over the next two years, due in part to the ban on sow stalls. After the oncoming 2% decline, it may take up to 10 years for the EU meat sector to reach its 2011 production level of 45 million tones. The report also predicted that the EU would see its share of global meat exports decline over the next decade.

19 November 2012

The most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years is seriously affecting U.S. agriculture, with impacts on the crop and livestock sectors and with the potential to affect food prices at the retail level.

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