Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

15 April 2013

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) has released a podcast and power point presentation following a seminar held last week on the theme of "Food as a Commodity, Human Right or Common Good? Implications for Hunger Eradication".

15 April 2013

Louise Fresco provides an overview of historical and future food security trends in her speech at the 200th commemorative meeting of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry entitled Food, scarcity and abundance.

15 April 2013

This commentary in the Nutrition and Cancer journal discusses some of the concerns related to the promotion of “miracle foods” by the media. The recommendation made in the study is that nutritional scientists and epidemiologists should be cognizant of the public health messages that are taken from their individual studies and not sensationalize the findings of a single study.

15 April 2013

Reducing the cost of healthy foods in supermarkets and retail outlets increases the amount of healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains that people eat while lowering consumption of foods with low nutritional value, say researchers at RAND Corporation South Africa.

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.

1 April 2013

For companies seeking to undertake Product Carbon Footprints (PCF) of leather and leather goods, one of the most controversial methodological issues relates to the definition of the system boundaries of the PCF study and, in particular, how to deal with the significant upstream burdens associated with livestock breeding and agricultural production of the cow.

25 March 2013

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has published its 2012 Food policy report. Its main arguments are as follows: In 2012, world food security remained vulnerable. Progress in the fight against hunger and malnutrition has been piecemeal, at best, and levels remain unacceptably high, with 870 million people hungry and 2 billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.

25 March 2013

This paper finds that the water footprint of agricultural products (a definition that presumably includes non-food products) accounts for 91% of the EU’s production-related water footprint and 89% of its consumption related footpint. It argues that much more water can be saved by modifying diets and reducing food waste than through the traditional water-saving routes highlighted in mainstream awareness raising campaigns. The paper echoes others that find animal products to be particularly water intensive.

25 March 2013

This paper addresses the relationship between meat eating and climate change focusing on motivational explanations of environmentally-relevant consumer behavior. Based on a sample of 1083 Dutch consumers, it examines their responses to the idea that they can make a big difference to nature and climate protection by choosing one or more meals without meat every week.

25 March 2013

Consumers influence climate change through their consumption patterns and their support or dismissal of climate mitigation policy measures. Both climate-friendly actions and policy support comprise a broad range of options, which vary in manifold ways and, therefore, might be influenced by different factors.

18 March 2013

The Norwegian pension fund GPFG, the largest in the world and worth US$710 billion, has pulled out of 23 palm oil companies in Indonesia and Malaysia which it judged to unsustainable. GPFG’s investments in the palm oil industry are now reduced by more than 40 per cent.

18 March 2013

Allan Savory of the Savory Institute has given a TED talk that outlines his ‘Holistic Management’ approach.

In brief, holistic management is based on the idea that large herds of livestock, far from causing desertification, can reverse it, by stimulating plant growth and water retention while also enhancing soil carbon sequestration (so reducing GHG emissions). 

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.

18 March 2013

Members may be interested in the various publications of the SPREAD project. This is an EU sponsored iniatiative that seeks to provide a social platform for research and engagement on sustainable consumption. 

18 March 2013

A new study suggests that enriching crops by adding a naturally-occurring soil mineral to fertilisers could potentially help to reduce disease and premature death in Malawi. Dietary deficiency of the mineral selenium plays a vital role in keeping the immune system healthy and fighting illness and is likely to be endemic among the Malawi population.

18 March 2013

This is interesting, although not perhaps surprising, study finding that consumers are more likely to perceive an unhealthy food such as a candy bar as more healthful when it has a green coloured calorie label compared with when it had a red one - even though the number of calories are the same. And green coloured labels increase the perceived healthfulness of foods, especially among consumers who place high importance on healthy eating.

11 March 2013

This report says that Europe’s high consumption levels of products such as meat, dairy and textiles that require large areas of land, mean that Europe’s 'land footprint' remains one of the largest in the world. The report finds that the EU is importing the equivalent of 1,212,050 square kilometres to meet its demand for food.

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.

11 March 2013

Science Daily summarises the findings of a paper which reports on recent successful attempts to transgenically breed a pig that utilises  phosphorous more efficiently.  The pigs have genetically modified salivary glands, which help them digest phosphorus in feedstuffs, thereby reducing phosphorus pollution in the environment.

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