Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Governance and policy

Policy on food incorporates a wide range of direct legislation on, for example, food safety regulation, farming methods, chemical use, production techniques and packaging. Governance of the food system takes place at multiple levels from the international (e.g. international trade agreements) through to the local (e.g. local authority planning policies influencing the siting of food businesses). Governance can encompass both 'hard' and ‘soft’ measures. The former commonly refers to legislation involving mandatory standards, caps, or bans, and economic instruments such as taxes and subsidies. 'Softer' approaches are usually taken to include voluntary standards, encouragement of voluntary industry action, and public education campaigns. In addition to the state, non-state actors including corporations and nongovernmental organisations also make policies that influence the future direction of the food system. To achieve progress towards a more sustainable food system it is essential to have effective and joined up governance of the food system at multiple levels, and across geographic borders and sectors.

26 June 2018

The Nordic Food Policy Lab has produced a report outlining 24 policies from the Nordic region that aim to change food consumption and tackle the social and environmental challenges caused by the current food system. Policies are organised into five themes - nutrition, culture, meals, waste and sustainability - and include salt labelling, building regional food identity, improving hospital meals and developing networks to reduce food waste. The authors include Marie Persson, former staff member of the FCRN.

Image: Neil McIntosh, Cockerel, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
4 June 2018

A podcast by Planet Money discusses price fixing in the US chicken industry.

Image: Angie Six, Quorn Chick-n Nuggets, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
4 June 2018

France recently amended its agriculture bill to ban non-animal foods from being labelled similarly to animal products, e.g. “soy sausage”, on the basis that such labelling could be misleading to consumers.

4 June 2018

The book “A handbook of food crime: Immoral and illegal practices in the food industry and what to do about them”, edited by Allison Gray and Ronald Hinch, discusses some of the problems in current food systems that lead to food crime. Topics discussed include food adulteration, forced labour in the chocolate industry, animal transportation and regulation of food waste.

4 June 2018

The FCRN was a collaborator in the workshop “Supporting Healthy and Sustainable Diets: how do we get there?”, held in September 2017 as part of Land Economy for Sustainability Strategic Dialogue Series hosted by the Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy at Chatham House and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. This summary of the workshop outlines the actions that governments, businesses and civil society can take to make diets more sustainable and healthy.

26 May 2018

The European Public Health Alliance have published a study of ten EU policies on sustainable food and farming. The report finds that the policies lack a systemic perspective and are particularly weak on the health, governance and resilience aspects of sustainability. The report recommends a mix of supply- and demand-side interventions and points out the importance of considering the “food environment” when devising policies.

Image: Biswarup Ganguly, Frying Samosas (bn: Singara) in deep oil at Morabad, Ranchi, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
21 May 2018

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set out a strategy for removing industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply. WHO estimates that half a million people die each year because of cardiovascular disease caused by trans fat consumption. Artificial trans fat are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (a process that gives liquid vegetable oils a higher melting point), while some natural trans fats are found in meat and dairy.

Image: Feelphotoz, Palm oil, Flickr, Creative Commons CC0
15 May 2018

Last year, members of the European Parliament voted to ban palm oil in biofuels in Europe by 2020, citing concerns over deforestation (read more about the environmental impacts of palm oil production here). The Guardian spoke to palm oil farmers in Malaysia who are worried they will lose their livelihood. Some of the farmers were given land by the government in the 1980s and do not use recently deforested land. “Our whole community here totally depends on palm oil… everybody is scared of what is going to happen to us in two years time,” said farmer Hussain Mohamed.

Image: 3dman_eu, Underground Metro London, Pixabay, Creative Commons CC0
15 May 2018

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to ban the advertising of foods high in salt, fat or sugar on the Transport for London public transport network, in a bid to tackle child obesity. The proposal says “This ban would exclude alcohol”, presumably meaning that alcohol could still be advertised.

Image: Kevin Simmons, Calorie Count, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
15 May 2018

From 7 May 2018, chain restaurants in the US with 20 or more branches are required to include calorie counts on their menus. The rules are part of an Obama-era health care law.

15 May 2018

A report by WWF, The Rivers Trust and The Angling Trust finds that only 14% of rivers in England are classed as healthy, with damage being caused by poor farming and land management practices, for example by degraded soil being washed into watercourses and agricultural chemicals contaminating groundwater. The report sets out a strategy for managing both soil and water health, including stricter control of slurry storage, incentives for farmers to plant woodland or create wetland habitats and creating an advice service for farmers and land managers.

9 May 2018

This report from the Food Research Collaboration, by Gary McFarlane, Tony Lewis and Tim Lang, argues that the Brexit negotiations have neglected the importance of the transport of food into, out of and through Northern Ireland.

Image: Graham Hogg, Surplus to requirements, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
9 May 2018

Fresh fruit and vegetables deliberately withdrawn from the market and destroyed under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy accounted for 5.1 Mt CO2 eq. in embedded production-stage emissions between 1989 and 2015, according to research by FCRN member Stephen Porter of the University of Edinburgh.

Image: FreeUsePhotos, John Deere 6830, Flickr, Public domain
9 May 2018

This paper looks at how trade liberalisation could impact the effectiveness of climate mitigation policies for non-CO2 emissions in the EU agricultural sector. Three scenarios are modelled: free trade agreements (FTA) alone; an EU carbon tax; and the combination of both.

24 April 2018

The Nordic Food Policy Lab, which collects and curates Nordic food policy solutions responding to the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, has launched a new email newsletter, Frontiers of Food. The newsletter will contain the latest updates, thoughts and case studies on innovative food policy around the world.

24 April 2018

This book, edited by Fabien Girard and Christine Frison, shows how innovative legal frameworks could better support the need for diversity in crop varieties while maintaining incentives for agricultural innovation, with a particular focus on the concept of the commons.

Image: Martin Bjørnskov, Marbæk, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
23 April 2018

A new paper finds that a range of “ambitious but not unrealistic” climate mitigation options could, together, mean that using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is not necessary for staying within 1.5°C of warming. Mitigation options considered include limiting population, lower meat consumption and use of lab-grown meat, lifestyle changes such as lower car use, electrification of energy end-use sectors, high efficiency manufacturing, agricultural intensification and mitigation of non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

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