Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Health concerns

24 March 2020

UK food waste NGO Feedback has curated a list of recommended reading on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is linked to food systems, including the origins of the pandemic and the effects it is having on food supply chains. 

24 March 2020

In this piece in The Conversation, Tim Lang (Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London) argues that the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis exposes the fragility of the UK’s food supply chain, with limited storage, a just-in-time supply model, and nearly half of the UK’s food being imported. Lang calls for a food rationing system to be introduced to ensure everyone has access to food (read Lang’s letter to the UK Prime Minister here).

16 March 2020

This report from the Dutch non-profit Access to Nutrition Foundation assesses the efforts of India’s 16 largest food and beverage manufacturers to contribute to improved nutrition. It finds that current industry efforts, while growing, are not enough to meet India’s current nutritional challenges. 16% of the 1456 products assessed met criteria for being healthy, and few companies are tackling undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight across all of their business areas.

16 March 2020

This report from UK campaign group Action on Salt finds that three-fifths of plant-based restaurant meals and two-fifths of plant-based food options in fast food outlets and coffee chains contain 3 grams of salt or more - half of an adult’s daily recommended salt intake. The report argues that consumers should have access to healthier plant-based options, particularly since the public tends to perceive vegan food as healthy.

10 March 2020

This report from the Dutch non-profit Access to Nutrition Foundation and UK charity ShareAction analyses the extent to which the 10 largest supermarket chains are reporting their progress on diet, nutrition and health. It finds that current levels of disclosure are sparse and varied between stores, with no store reporting on more than 35% of the indicators assessed in this report. Sainsbury’s supermarket has the greatest extent of reporting.

3 March 2020

Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic formed as larger pieces break down in the environment, or else intentionally manufactured (e.g. as microbeads for cleaning products or pellets for industrial use). This paper reviews the current state of knowledge on their human health implications and effects on ecosystems. 

18 February 2020

This article in the Guardian, by food writer Bee Wilson, author of The Way We Eat Now, describes the debate around so-called ultra-processed foods. Wilson describes the classification system for processed foods developed by researcher Carlos Monteiro and the research being done on the health impacts of ultra-processed foods.

28 January 2020

This report from the UK Soil Association’s Food for Life initiative explores the state of children’s food in England. It finds that 4 in 10 children leaving primary school will be overweight or obese by 2024, nine out of ten preschool children eat too much sugar and UK families eat the most ultra-processed diet in Europe.

28 January 2020

This paper by FCRN member Jono Drew investigates whether healthy and climate-friendly diets might vary from global recommendations in the context of New Zealand (using food carbon footprints specific to New Zealand, where possible). It finds that shifting diets towards whole plant foods (such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains) and away from red and processed meat would have large health and climate benefits, consistent with recent global recommendations.

20 January 2020

According to this paper, most meat-eaters think that vegetarian and vegan diets are ethical, good for the environment, healthy and socially acceptable, but also tend to believe that these diets are difficult, not tasty, inconvenient and expensive. Vegetarian diets tend to be viewed more positively than vegan diets across all measures included in the survey, except for ethical considerations and the environment, where vegan and vegetarian diets are viewed equally.

13 January 2020

This review paper argues that obesity and mortality in the United States could be reduced by limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed foods and meats, because of the tendency of processed foods to encourage people to eat more food (based on trials in people), and the inflammatory effect of emulsifiers such as carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 (based on mouse and in vitro studies, not studies in people).

7 January 2020

This report from UK food waste charity Feedback examines the impacts of UK sugar production. It finds that the area of farmland used to produce sugar beet in the UK - 110,000 hectares - is similar to the area devoted to UK vegetable production. The report argues that sugar beet harvesting is damaging to the soil.

2 December 2019

According to this article by the New Food Economy, the United States has experienced five E. coli outbreaks in the leafy green supply chain in two years. The latest outbreak, affecting romaine lettuce, originated in Salinas, California. A task force found that a 2018 outbreak was possibly linked to the presence of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) near lettuce farms.

4 November 2019

The Food Research Collaboration has produced an evidence review and guidance note on the role that convenience stores can play in shaping diets in the UK - specifically, how convenience store operators can be persuaded to offer more healthy food options. 

4 November 2019

This paper from researchers at Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project considers the health and environmental impacts of consuming an extra portion per day of 15 different foods. For many of the foods, those with beneficial health impacts also have lower environmental impacts, while many of those with greater environmental impacts also have greater disease risk.

29 October 2019

According to this report from UK charity the Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association, mixtures of pesticides can be more harmful to human health than the sum of the toxicity of the individual pesticides would suggest. 

22 October 2019

The book chapter Why sustainable plant-based diets are needed to reverse the food-climate-health-equity crisis by FCRN member David A Cleveland, part of the book Plant-based diets for succulence and sustainability, argues that plant-based diets are a key part of the response to the interlinked crises in food, climate, health and inequality.

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