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This opinion piece in The Hill by Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, argues that the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (which is reviewing the guidelines for their 2020-2025 edition) is strongly influenced by the food industry and that the committee will not be allowed to conduct a full review of the evidence on questions such as food sustainability.
This article in AgFunderNews explores how the “pasture-raised” label is used in poultry retail in the US. The label, which has not yet been officially defined by the USDA or the FDA, has attracted controversy from some food industry actors and animal welfare advocates, who say that some producers using the label do not have welfare standards as high as customers expect.
Over 100 food organisations, including many supermarkets, have signed the “Step up to the Plate” pledge (organised by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to halve food waste by 2030, support a week of action in November 2019, empower citizens and change their individual habits so as to reduce food waste.
The UK government has announced a year-long review of the food system, which will lead to a new National Food Strategy for England. As well as consulting experts and people working through the supply chain, the review process will include a Citizen’s Assembly (a form of sortition), where a representative set of randomly selected people will listen to the evidence, debate it and make suggestions for next steps.
A joint investigation by the Guardian newspaper, Channel 4 News and the UK’s non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that halving ammonia emissions from farms in the UK could save thousands of lives each year. However, a loophole in regulations means that ammonia emissions from beef and dairy farms do not have to be monitored.
Following consultation with fishers and marine conservation experts, the UK government has created new Marine Conservation Zones around the English coast, taking the UK’s total protected areas of ocean to over twice the size of England. However, some critics question whether the protected areas are actually beneficial to wildlife.
Organic charity the Soil Association is calling for the UK government to introduce a mandatory meat-free day each week for school catering to tackle climate change and increase fibre intake, noting that few schools currently follow the voluntary plant-based day recommended by the current School Food Standards.
This feature in the New Food Economy explores how autonomous weed-picking robots could replace herbicides and tackle weeds that have become resistant to some herbicides. The robots use both GPS tracking and cameras to navigate fields and remove weeds.
New Zealand has introduced a new bill that aims to bring emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. A separate target has been set for methane emissions from agriculture, with planned cuts of 10% by 2030 and 24% to 47% by 2050.
New York City has launched a new strategy to tackle climate change, inequality and other social and environmental issues. The strategy calls for the City to end unnecessary purchases of single-use plastic foodware, phase out the purchase of processed meat and halve purchases of beef.
The UK Parliament has endorsed a motion to declare a climate and environment emergency, in response to the 2019 Extinction Rebellion protests and calls from the Labour opposition. The motion, which is not legally binding, follows declarations of a climate emergency by the Welsh Government, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, and several cities across the UK.
The European parliament’s agriculture committee has approved a ban on using words such as ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, ‘steak’ or ‘escalope’ to name vegetarian food products. The proposal will not become law unless approved by the full parliament, which will not vote on the issue until after May 2019’s elections.
According to the BMJ (British Medical Journal), the World Health Organisation pulled out of sponsoring a launch event for the EAT-Lancet report on healthy and sustainable diets after Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Italy’s ambassador to the United Nations, questioned the health and economic impacts of the report’s largely plant-based diet recommendations.
Schools strike climate activist Greta Thunberg, along with several scientists, authors and campaigners, has called for “natural climate solutions” to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss simultaneously.
This feature in the UK’s Guardian newspaper examines the environmental implications of China’s promotion of milk consumption. Dairy consumption in China has grown from very little to around 30 kg per year within the last few decades, and government guidelines recommend that people triple their current dairy consumption.
Extreme weather events such as frosts, heavy rains and droughts are the main drivers of lower olive yields in Italy, according to Professor Riccardo Valentini of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change. Italy has experienced a 57% drop in olive oil production in 2018.