Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Health concerns

4 March 2019

This report, the latest in the Food Research Collaboration’s Food Brexit Briefing series, explores the policy options for governing sugar supply as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. The current supply of cheaper sugar has undermined public health, the report argues.

18 February 2019

This book discusses options for sustainable weed control for a variety of crops. Topics covered include the impacts of herbicides on people, soils and ecosystems, integrated weed management, and herbicide resistance.

Image: Jeff Vanuga, Pesticide application on leaf lettuce in Yuma, Az., Public Domain Files, Public Domain
18 February 2019

Switching to an organic diet for six days significantly reduced the levels of several pesticides and pesticide metabolites found in the urine of the 16 participants of this study.

11 February 2019

This piece from the New Food Economy interviews several researchers across the United States who have felt pressure from food industry bodies and funders.

28 November 2018

The Association of UK Dietitians (BDA) has released a toolkit for environmentally sustainable diets, which contains information on eating patterns for health and environmental sustainability, a glossary, frequently asked questions and a list of meal swaps.

27 November 2018

This report finds that the ten largest US food and beverage manufacturers lack comprehensive strategies for effectively addressing obesity and diet-related diseases. Assessing a portfolio of the manufacturers’ products, the report classifies only 30% as “healthy”.

Image: Elmastudio, jippi, our kale is growing beautifully in the garden, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
29 October 2018

Two commentary pieces question the findings of the study “Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk”, which claims that higher organic food consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer. The pieces point out that only two cancer types showed a statistically significant reduction in risk, and that the reduction in cancer risk only appeared to hold true for older women, not men, younger adults or people with a high overall quality of diet.

29 October 2018

The European Public Health Alliance has published a policy briefing outlining 11 ways in which the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could promote public health.

29 October 2018

A hard Brexit, where the UK trades with other nations on the terms and tariffs set out by the World Trade Organisation after leaving the European Union, could cause an additional 5,600 deaths in the UK, mainly due to reduced consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts, according to a working paper published by the Oxford Martin School.

Image: Jess Attaway, Men digging in a canal in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
22 October 2018

Wastewater canals used to irrigate urban agriculture in Burkina Faso may harbour dangerous microbes such as tuberculosis and genes that give microbes resistance to antibiotics, according to this research paper. The canals sampled by the researchers were designed to protect against flooding, but are used to water agricultural fields. The canals, which are not regularly cleaned, receive sludge, solid waste, wastewater, and effluent from a hospital, a market, houses and a slaughterhouse.

Image: Beetle, Candies, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
16 October 2018

A paper argues that current definitions of ultra-processed foods are inconsistently applied. Furthermore, while higher consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with higher sugar intake and lower fibre intake, the paper claims that intakes of fat, saturated fat and salt are not associated with ultra-processed food consumption. The paper questions the policy recommendation that ultra-processed foods should be avoided.

2 October 2018

In a technical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the health concerns associated with several classes of food additives (including those unintentionally added to food, e.g. from packaging), including bisphenols, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds, artificial food colours, and nitrates and nitrites. The report notes that children may be particularly susceptible to the effects of these additives because of their lower body weight and because their metabolic systems are still developing.

Image: sarahemcc, 2 piglets at JEEP, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
31 July 2018

A new paper in Science reviews trends in meat consumption and the associated health and environmental implications. The paper also discusses potential means of influencing meat consumption levels.

Image: Dr. David Midgley, Aspergillus fumigatus from soil in culture, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic
4 June 2018

The emergence of disease-causing fungi that are resistant to antifungal drugs threatens both human health and food security, according to a recent paper. Some resistance has been found to every main class of agricultural fungicides and many medical antifungals used to treat humans and animals. The paper outlines some factors contributing to emerging resistance and makes some policy recommendations.

Image: Oregon State University, Microplastic, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

A report (PDF link) tested bottled water in nine different countries and found that 242 out of 259 bottles contained small pieces of plastic. The report suggests that at least some of the plastic particles may be coming from the packaging or the bottling process.

Image: Aqua Mechanical, Tractor Fertilize Field Pesticide And Insecticide, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

This article examines the toxicity of ‘adjuvants’ in pesticides. Commercial pesticide formulations contain the active ingredient and various other chemicals - adjuvants - such as surfactants, antifoaming agents, preservatives, solvents and dyes. Adjuvants are generally neglected by health risk assessments of pesticides in the United States and the European Union. This paper uses the examples of glyphosate and neonicotinoids to illustrate that adjuvants can result in pesticides being significantly more toxic than the active ingredient alone. The paper calls for changes in regulation.

Image: Jeremy Noble, Roast, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

In this paper, the authors conducted a review of numerous studies to examine the content, advantages and limitations of a frame-based approach to assist consumers in reducing their intake of conventional meat (e.g. eating less meat or different meat, such as organic or certified for animal welfare or environmental impact). Particularly, they want to evaluate whether behaviour can be shifted by creating new frames and to identify frames that can bridge a transition by highlighting ‘push’ factors away from routine meat eating, or ‘pull’ factors towards encouraging the consumption of alternatives.

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