New Jersey senator and presidential hopeful Cory Booker put forth the Farm System Reform Act of 2019, in recognition of the environmental impact of industrial agriculture, which would put a stop to any new factory farms, as The Hill reported.
The bill will reform the agriculture system by breaking up monopolistic practices in the industry and holding large corporate farms accountable for the environmental impacts of their practices, according to The Hill.
The proposal takes particular aim at factory farms, or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which are notorious for their detrimental environmental impacts, as well as the inhumane treatment of animals. Not only would the bill ban any new CAFOs, but it requires phasing existing ones out by 2040, according to the Government Accountability Project. The bill will allocate $100 billion over a decade to entice farmers who want to transition out of running CAFOs.
CAFOs are known to generate an enormous amount of manure and waste, which frequently contaminates nearby groundwater. They are also known to give farmers little freedom to change since farmers are often handcuffed by binding contracts with large corporations. The Department of Agriculture defines a CAFO as having 1,000 cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2,500 pigs, 125,000 chickens or 82,000 laying hens, as Modern Farmer reported.
Sen. Cory Booker's proposal aims to hold corporations responsible for pollution and other harm caused by their factory farm suppliers, even though the factory farms are independently owned and in a contract with the large corporations, according to The Hill.
"Our independent family farmers and ranchers are continuing to be squeezed by large, multinational corporations that, because of their buying power and size, run roughshod over the marketplace. We need to fix the broken system – that means protecting family farmers and ranchers and holding corporate integrators responsible for the harm they are causing," said Booker, in a statement put out by his office. "Large factory farms are harmful to rural communities, public health, and the environment and we must immediately begin to transition to a more sustainable and humane system."
Booker's statement cited data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that found large CAFOs produce as much as 1.4 billion tons of waste each year, but don't need to maintain a waste treatment facility. Their steady dramatic increase in numbers recently put rural communities at risk of severe environmental hazards and threatens the viability of family farms.
Furthermore, the crowded conditions of livestock means antibiotics have been overused, leading to the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. That phenomenon pushed the American Public Health Association to urge federal, state and local governments as well as public health agencies to impose a moratorium on all new and expanding CAFOs last month, according to Booker's statement.
"Senator Booker's Farm System Reform Act pushes back on the concentration of animal production and the devastating impact that has had on our rural communities," said Randy Dugger, Indiana Farmers Union Vice President, in a statement. "Independent family farmers deserve an opportunity to be prosperous again. By providing fairness and transparency in the market, along with a significant investment to help those trapped in a broken system to get out, this bill can make a huge difference."
The bill also calls for restoring country-of-origin labeling for beef and pork and expand to dairy products. It would tighten labeling regulations so consumers know where meat was grown, slaughtered and processed, which would stop the Department of Agriculture from labeling imported meat as "Product of USA." Currently, meat grown, slaughtered and processed in Brazil, but packaged in the USA can be labeled as Product of USA, as Modern Farmer reported.
"I have seen first-hand how hard it is to challenge the multinational corporations who control the meat industry," said Mike Callicrate, a Kansas rancher in a press release. "Farmers and ranchers need a marketplace that compensates them fairly and Senator Booker's Farm System Reform Act is a big step in the right direction. Things like country of origin labeling on meat, updates to the Packers and Stockyards Act, and resources to get folks out of a system that is bankrupting them will make a big difference."
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A group of scientists is warning that livestock production must not expand after 2030 for the world to stave off ecological disaster.
The scientists warn that a coordinated effort from the world's governments to identify and reduce the largest sources of emissions is needed to reduce the risk of global temperatures exceeding the "safe" limit of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as CNN reported.
"The reduction we need means we need deep transformation in every sector," said Helen Harwatt, an environmental social scientist at Harvard Law School and lead author of the letter, to CNN. "To reduce to 1.5 C, we need to remove massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. We're suggesting agriculture transitions to optimal systems, and that's plant-based."
In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, it's important to cut back on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that cattle and sheep notoriously emit during digestion.
Furthermore, carbon-capturing forests are destroyed to create room for livestock and to grow grains for intensively raised animals, as The Guardian reported. More than 80 percent of farmland is used to raise livestock, but it produces just 18 percent of calories.
Researchers have found that the best way to store large amounts of carbon is to reduce meat and dairy intake and for people to shift to a plant-based diet so land is returned to forest, according to the The Guardian.
"If the livestock sector were to continue with business as usual, this sector alone would account for 49 percent of the emissions budget for 1.5°C by 2030, requiring other sectors to reduce emissions beyond a realistic or planned level," the scientists wrote in their letter.
The letter notes that decreasing livestock production will reduce the carbon footprint left by animal husbandry. The UN estimates that raising animals for meat accounts for nearly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is twice as much as the fashion industry, according to CBS News.
"Ruminant meat is 10 to 100 times more damaging to the climate than plant-based food," said Pete Smith, at the University of Aberdeen, UK, a senior author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on land use and climate change, to The Guardian. "As a planet, we need to transition away from a dependence on livestock, just as we need to transition away from fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of hitting the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Livestock numbers need to peak very soon and thereafter decline substantially."
The scientists also pointed out that the land being used to raise cattle is needed to fight the climate crisis. A growing body of research has found that trees are one of the best weapons we have to capture excess carbon. A study published in July found that planting 500 billion trees, which we have the space to do if we reduce land used for livestock, can remove nearly two-thirds of the CO2 people have pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution, as EcoWatch reported.
"Food demand is expected to increase massively as our population expands toward 10 billion," said professor Matthew Betts at Oregon State University and another author of the letter, as The Guardian reported. "Reducing human demand for resource-intensive animal protein would considerably slow the rate of global forest loss, with huge benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services, in addition to carbon storage."
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Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Anne-Sophie Brändlin
October 16 marks World Food Day this year, a day celebrated every year by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
World Food Day is a call to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible for everyone, while nurturing the planet at the same time.
But how can this be achieved?
One way, according to a new study, would be to introduce different ways for countries across the world to adapt their diets.
Researchers at the U.S. based Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future looked at diets in 140 countries across the world and measured the ecological impact of their food production in order to identify ways to mitigate climate change.
The study, called Country-specific dietary shifts to mitigate climate and water crises found that an important first step would be to shift Europe and the United States away from a diet heavy in meat and dairy.
But study co-author, Martin Bloem, notes that the solutions needed are not one-size-fits-all.
"The situation for poorer countries is not the same as for high-income countries and the solutions for high-income countries are much more straight-forward," Bloem said.
Why Meat and Dairy Are Bad for the Climate
Livestock are responsible for almost 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the FAO.
Cattle is the biggest culprit. Raised for both beef and milk, cows represent about 65 percent of the livestock sector's emissions, followed by pork (9 percent), buffalo milk (8 percent), and poultry and eggs (8 percent).
A byproduct of cow digestion is methane (CH4) and accounts for the majority of livestock emissions. The greenhouse gas is estimated to be at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
But livestock production is also responsible for other greenhouse gas emissions, such as nitrous oxide (N20) and carbon dioxide (CO2), mainly through the production of their feed, which often involves large applications of nitrogen-based fertilizers.
The Opposite Approach to Combat Hunger?
But with over 800 million people still going hungry every day, impact on the climate cannot be the only guide for what people eat, the study points out.
Animal source foods, specifically milk and eggs, are in fact a valuable source of protein and nutrients like calcium, which are especially important for young children and pregnant women.
"Some countries, such as Indonesia, India and most of the African countries may actually need to dramatically increase their greenhouse gas emissions and water use, because they have to combat hunger and stunting," Bloem said.
In these countries, there is still a 40 percent rate of stunting, a side effect of undernutrition that results in lower than average growth in children.
Stunting also has a major, long-term impact on the cognitive abilities of the children.
"It's irreversible by the age of two, so stunting has huge implications for the human capital in those countries. That's why it's very critical that we prevent stunting and we need animal source foods for that," Bloem said. "We cannot keep that out of the equation when talking about climate protection."
Another solution, according to Bloem, would be to fortify certain products, like cereal. This would help reduce the need to get nutrients through animal products. It's a practice already in use in many developed countries, but so far hasn't been applied in many poorer countries.
Fish Could Make All the Difference
Diets in which protein came predominantly from low food chain animals – such as small fish and mollusks – were found to have nearly as low of an environmental impact as a vegan diet.
"Small fish are really critical for poor people, particularly in Africa and Asia, as that's one of the main sources for protein and calcium, because the milk intake is very low in those countries," Bloem said.
"But 80% of all the fish produced nowadays actually comes from Asia and is imported in Europe and the US. And the feed for some of these bigger fish we import are actually those smaller fish, which means the poorer people have no more access to this vital source of protein and calcium."
Researchers also determined that a diet that reduced animal food consumption by two-thirds – termed by study authors as going "two-thirds vegan" – generally had a lower climate and water footprint than vegetarian diets that included eggs and diary, but not fish.
Where You Get Your Food From Matters
Researchers also found that local production wasn't always the best way to go from a climate perspective.
The production of one pound (0.45 kilograms) of beef in Paraguay, for instance, contributes nearly 17 times more greenhouse gases than one pound of beef produced in Denmark. Often, this disparity came from deforestation to create grazing land, according to the study.
"So a food's country of origin can have enormous consequences for the climate," Bloem said.
"In Europe the soil is much more fertile, for instance, which makes the production there more efficient. So trade could actually be good for the climate if food is produced in places where the climate impact is the lowest," Bloem said, adding that this is the case even when emissions from transportation are factored in.
The study concludes that middle- and low-income countries need to be guided and supported by developed countries to avoid environmental mistakes the planet is already paying for.
"It needs to be a close collaboration between developed and developing countries. It's a joint problem. We are all in this together," Bloem said.
Another way industrialized countries could reduce their impact on the climate is reducing food waste — one-third of all food produced worldwide ends up in the bin, with Europeans on average throwing away 95 kilograms (209 lbs) of food per person, per year. In low-income African countries south of the Sahara, it's only 6 kilograms (13 lbs).
Context Is Key
But despite the findings, one key conclusion of the report is that there aren't always straight-forward answers, according to Bloem.
"That's why we conducted analyses in all these different countries so that you can see what the most optimal way is for each individual country – but also the entire world to deal with diets and health criteria, as well as climate and sustainability," he said.
In the end, the study came up with nine plant-forward diets, ranging from no red meat to pescatarian (a vegetarian diet that includes seafood), lacto-ovo vegetarian (a vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs), to vegan, which are to be presented to policymakers in each country.
At the same time, the study urges people in the Western world to do more.
Baby boomers in the developed world, for instance, on average spend less than 10% of their income on food, while the same generation in countries like Nigeria, Kenya or Bangladesh spends 50 to 60% of their income on food, according to Bloem.
"For us in the Western world, we can pay more for our food so that we can pay for the unintended consequences."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.
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It has long been a public health truism that limiting meat consumption is better for your body. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Cancer Research Fund both say red or processed meat can cause cancer, as Reuters noted. But a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine Tuesday argued that this might not be the case.
"Based on the research, we cannot say with any certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease," Bradley Johnson, an associate professor at Dalhousie University in Canada and a co-leader of the study, said, as Reuters reported.
Free in Annals today: Unprocessed Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption: Dietary Guideline Recommendations From t… https://t.co/jbUJwPuPhm— Annals of Int Med (@Annals of Int Med)1569877243.0
To reach this conclusion, a team of 14 researchers in seven countries spent three years reviewing studies of the link between the consumption of red or processed meat and heart disease or cancer, The New York Times explained.
Their three reviews of the evidence covered randomized trials of 54,000 people and observational studies covering millions, according to The New York Times and Reuters. They concluded that the randomized trials showed no statistically significant link between meat consumption and diabetes, heart disease or cancer. The observational studies showed "a very small reduction in risk" for those who ate less red or processed meat, but observational studies are a weaker form of evidence than random trials, as The New York Times explained:
At the heart of the debate is a dispute over nutritional research itself, and whether it's possible to ascertain the effects of just one component of the diet. The gold standard for medical evidence is the randomized clinical trial, in which one group of participants is assigned one drug or diet, and another is assigned a different intervention or a placebo.
But asking people to stick to a diet assigned by a flip of a coin, and to stay with it long enough to know if it affects the risk for heart attack or cancer, is nearly impossible.
The alternative is an observational study: Investigators ask people what they eat and look for links to health. But it can be hard to know what people really are eating, and people who eat a lot of meat are different in many other ways from those who eat little or none.
The researchers concluded that adults could continue to consume red and processed meat at their current levels.
Many public health experts pushed back against the new findings.
"From a public health point of view, it is irresponsible and unethical to issue dietary guidelines that are tantamount to promoting meat consumption, even if there is still some uncertainty about the strength of the evidence," Dr. Frank Hu and colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wrote on the school's website.
A closer look at the science behind those new "guidelines" on red and processed meat. https://t.co/TxCZSnVA8Y— The Nutrition Source (@The Nutrition Source)1569880306.0
Because of the difficulty of conducting randomized trials for a variety of public health issues, they argued in part that dismissing high-quality observational studies as weak evidence would make it difficult to support things like the benefits of exercise or the harm caused by air pollution.
University of Reading nutrition and food science professor Gunter Kuhnle agreed that it was wrong to dismiss the observational evidence entirely.
"The data clearly shows that the while the association between meat and cancer does not have to be addressed urgently, it should not be ignored," he told The Guardian. "Small dietary changes can mitigate the effect of red and processed meat on cancer risk, for example a high-fibre diet."
The Harvard response also faulted the study for setting aside a major problem with meat consumption: its impact on the planet. Meat and dairy account for about 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, The New York Times pointed out. A recent study found that people in the U.S. should cut their beef consumption by 40 percent in order to feed a growing world population without exhausting the earth's resources.
"This is a missed opportunity because climate change and environmental degradation have serious effects on human health, and thus is important to consider when making recommendations on diet, even if this is addressed separately from direct effects on individual health," the Harvard nutritionists wrote.
But others who agreed with the new study's findings on the personal health level acknowledged that there were other reasons to cut down on red and processed meats.
Ian Johnson, a nutrition expert at Britain's Quadram Institute of bioscience, told Reuters he hoped the study would "discourage dramatic media headlines claiming that 'bacon is killing us'," but he also said that eating less meat could have health and other benefits.
"There are (also) strong environmental and ethical arguments for reducing meat consumption in the modern world," he said.
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Meat-eaters put a lot of faith in USDA inspection facilities, which are often overwhelmed by an endless flow of animals ready for slaughter to meet our seemingly endless demand for meat.
Cutting back on meat has tremendous benefits for the environment. And, it may keep you safe from food-borne illnesses when there's a slip-up at a processing plant like the one that happened recently in Chino, CA.
#NowReading - Cut beef consumption in half to help save the earth, says new study https://t.co/7ZMc557NNT via… https://t.co/Rm7NaPdY8Q— World Resources Inst (@World Resources Inst)1563822059.0
American Beef Packers Inc., recalled nearly 25,000 pounds of raw beef that are not safe to eat last weekend, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Inspectors at the facility pulled a possibly contaminated carcass off of the production line and took a few samples for testing. While they were waiting for the results to come back, the questionable carcass was released into the production line where it was butchered into various cuts and ground meat mix, as CNN reported.
The wholesale distributor sent the questionable meats out to various places in California and Oregon, according to the USDA.
Anyone in those states who buys beef should look for establishment number "EST. 34741" inside the USDA mark of inspection, the USDA said.
While there are no confirmed cases of illnesses due to this batch of meat, the USDA is concerned that some of it is in the fridges and freezers of people in California and Oregon. The Food Safety and Inspection Service urges people who have bought beef recently to check the label for EST. 34741 and, if it is found, either throw it away or return it to the store where it was bought, according to its press release.
A few weeks ago, another massive recall was underway when Tyson recalled nearly 40,000 pounds of its Weaver chicken patties after some consumers found pieces of rubber in their meal, according to Reuters.
In that instance, the USDA labeled the recall as Class 1, the strictest classification of recall where the product may cause serious harm or death. The USDA classification rubric says of a Class 1 recall, "This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."
Tyson, the country's largest meat processor, did not say how many customers found rubber in their food. Nor did it disclose how the rubber from the machines used for processing slipped into the patties, according to Reuters.
That recall followed one just a few months earlier of 12-million pounds of frozen ready-to-eat chicken strips, which may have been contaminated.
One more reason to leave out buying burgers for you summer BBQ. https://t.co/PwKWagOQNP— Ecogreenlabs (@Ecogreenlabs)1554476177.0
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The UN set a global goal to cut food loss and waste in half by 2030. Alarming figures show just how big of a challenge remains.
Nearly a third of all food produced in the world goes uneaten each year — an amount that costs the global economy $940 billion and emits 8 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gases. At the same time, 1 in 9 people is undernourished.
A massive challenge requires massive action. A new report by the World Resources Institute‚ and produced with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and in partnership with United Nations Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, Iowa State University, The University of Maryland's Ed Snider Center, The Consortium for Innovation in Postharvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction, Wageningen University and Research, and WRAP — lays out a Global Action Agenda to overcome the world's food loss and waste problem.
Simply put, this Global Action Agenda calls on governments, companies, farmers, consumers, and everyone in between to play their role in a three-pronged approach:
- Target-Measure-Act: Set food loss and waste reduction targets, measure to identify hotspots of food loss and waste and to monitor progress over time, and take action on the hotspots.
- "To do" list: Pursue a short to-do list we've identified per player in the food supply chain as "no regret" first steps toward taking action.
- 10 scaling interventions: Collaborate in 10 areas to ramp up deployment of Target-Measure-Act and the "to do" list.
10 Ways to Scale Action
To accelerate momentum, here are 10 interventions that can rapidly spur deployment of a Target Measure Act approach and actor-specific actions.
1. Develop national strategies for food loss and waste reduction.
Only a handful of nations have established strategies to reduce food loss and waste, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ethiopia. National strategies help align public policies, private sector actions, farmer practices and consumer behavior toward a shared goal, so it's critical that more nations create strategies to halve food loss and waste.
2. Create national public-private partnerships.
Reducing food loss and waste requires action across the entire food supply chain as well as supportive public policies. No single institution can drive a 50% economy-wide reduction on its own. Public-private partnerships have an emerging track record, having launched in countries like the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States. In the UK, the Courtauld Commitment has been signed by 53 retailers, who have committed to measure and reduce food waste. If such partnerships emerged in the following countries, then 20 of the world's largest agriculture exporters would be covered, representing 45 percent of the world's population: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Thailand and Turkey.
Thailand farmer rows boat laden with fruit and vegetables to market.
WRI / Flickr
3. Launch a "10x20x30" supply chain initiative.
Food losses often occur during production and, especially in low-income countries, during handling and storage. Launching a private sector campaign where at least 10 of the largest food and agriculture companies commit to act and engage their 20 largest suppliers to do the same by 2030 (hence, 10x20x30) could have a big impact. This approach leverages the relative market concentration and power of a few companies to catalyze change across the supply chain and geographies. This intervention follows a model set by retail-giant Tesco, which has secured the commitment of 27 of its major suppliers to set targets, measure progress and act.
4. Reduce smallholder losses.
If we're to halve food losses, efforts to assist smallholders with productivity and efficiency need a big boost---especially in reaching smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, regions that lose an estimated 26% of their food during harvesting, handling and storage. Approaches include training farmers in reducing losses, creating access to markets for smallholders and improving storage solutions. For example, as part of The Rockefeller Foundation's YieldWise initiative, farmers growing tomatoes in Nigeria were trained in improved agronomic practices and access to aggregation centers, which reduced transport time to market. Following these interventions, losses were reduced by 54%.
5. Launch a "decade of storage solutions."
What if the 2020s became a decade of making food storage technologies ubiquitous, affordable and climate-friendly? Doing so would tackle a huge hotspot of food loss and waste in low-income countries, helping ensure more food makes it safely to market. Innovations in solar-powered coolers and "lease-to-own" financing arrangements for villages can help.
6. Shift consumer social norms.
Behavioral science tells us that increased knowledge of an issue alone does not necessarily translate into changed behavior. What successful initiatives like the UK's 'Love Food, Hate Waste' campaign have shown is that you must give people information and make it easy for them to change their behavior. That's why 'Love Food, Hate Waste' ran advertisements to raise awareness and worked with retailers to get rid of offers such as 'buy one get one free' that encourage over-buying as well as to print food storage information on food packaging, making it easier for people to waste less food. What's needed is for norms in high-income countries and cities everywhere to shift so that wasting food becomes unacceptable.
7. Go after emissions reductions.
Reducing food loss and waste is an underappreciated greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. By tackling food loss and waste from emissions-intensive beef, dairy and rice, these food sectors can reduce their impact on climate. Another strategy is for countries to add food loss and waste reduction to their national climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). To date, fewer than a dozen countries have included food loss and waste reduction in their NDCs.
8. Scale up financing.
Many of the promising solutions to reduce food loss and waste need an influx in financing to take off. In 2016, The Rockefeller Foundation launched the $130 million YieldWise initiative to tackle food losses in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, and food waste in North America and Europe. In 2019, the World Bank launched a $300 million Sustainable Development Bond focused on food loss and waste reduction. More of such investments are needed by a wider suite of financiers, ranging from grants and blended finance to venture capital and commercial investments.
9. Overcome the data deficit.
Without more and better data to understand the scale and scope of the food loss and waste challenge, we risk not being able to identify hotspots, hone reduction strategies and monitor progress. Over the next five years, the world needs a concentrated push to measure the quantity of food loss and waste in a more consistent way so that data is comparable.
10. Advance the research agenda.
Public and private research institutions have an important role, helping answer questions that will allow the world to refine strategies for reducing food loss and waste. These are questions like: Which solutions are showing the best return on investment? What technologies are most promising? What can behavioral science tell us about how to shift social norms when it comes to food waste? And what types of infrastructure do farmers in low-income countries need to reduce on-farm and near-farm losses?
There Are Enormous Benefits to Reducing Food Loss and Waste
Successfully halving food loss and waste would bring enormous benefits. It would close the gap between food needed in 2050 and food available in 2010 by more than 20 percent. It would avoid the need to convert an area the size of Argentina into agricultural land. And it would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 gigatons per year by 2050, an amount more than the current energy and industry related emissions of Japan.
The size of the prize is huge. So, too, must be the action to seize it.
Reposted with permission from our media associate World Resources Institute.
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The strain sickened 255 people in 32 states between June 2018 and March 2019, leading to 60 hospitalizations and two deaths, the agency wrote in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. And the strain is still making people sick, lead report author and CDC epidemiologist Dr. Ian Plumb told CNN.
New @CDCMMWR: Learn about #Salmonella Newport infections in the US that are resistant to some common #antibiotics a… https://t.co/nBYacDhQLO— CDC (@CDC)1566495302.0
"We are continuing to see cases occurring among patients," Plumb told CNN in an email. "The antibiotic resistance pattern of this strain is alarming because the primary oral antibiotics used to treat patients with this type of salmonella infection may not work."
Plumb told HealthDay Reporter that the two patients who died had other illnesses as well, but that the drug-resistant salmonella did contribute to their deaths.
The strain has shown decreased susceptibility to azithromycin and does not respond at all to ciprofloxacin, the report said. Both are commonly used to treat the disease, and, before 2017, fewer than 0.5 percent of salmonella strains found in U.S. patients were resistant to azithromycin.
The outbreak has been linked to the consumption of U.S. beef and Mexican soft cheese, leading investigators to believe the strain is present in cows in both countries, CNN reported.
"The resistant strains developed in animals, and those strains can then be transmitted to humans," Plumb told HealthDay Reporter.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at the New York University Langone Medical Center who was not involved with the study, told HealthDay Reporter that the best way to prevent drug-resistant infections like this is to change farming practices.
"Salmonella is a very common bacteria in livestock, and the problem is that we're overusing antibiotics to try to control this problem," Siegel said. He said that farmers also gave antibiotics to cattle to increase their size.
He said that better human treatments were not the solution, since most of the time the infection needs no treatment at all.
"It's really a change in farming practices that are needed—to stop giving these animals antibiotics," he said.
The CDC also stated that avoiding giving cattle unnecessary antibiotics, especially those also used to treat humans, would help prevent the spread of drug-resistant salmonella.
In the meantime, the CDC recommended that people protect themselves by avoiding soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk and using thermometers to make sure beef is cooked to the proper temperature: 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks and roasts and 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground beef.
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Goldsmiths, University of London announced the beef ban Monday as part of a series of steps designed to help the institution, which has declared a climate emergency, go carbon neutral by 2025. Other measures include an extra 10 pence charge for bottled water and single-use plastic cups and the installation of more solar panels on its campus in Southeast London.
Goldsmiths’ new Warden Professor Frances Corner has announced an ambitious drive for the College to be carbon neutral by 2025.— Goldsmiths (@GoldsmithsUoL) August 12, 2019
The plan includes the removal of all beef products from campus outlets and a 10p levy on plastic bottles https://t.co/sYRHZ0gxxa
"Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words," Goldsmiths' new Warden Prof. Frances Corner said in a statement. "I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use."
Goldsmiths' announcement comes about a week after a draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended a global shift towards vegetarian diets in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Agriculture and other land use practices contribute almost 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while cattle and rice fields are responsible for half of all methane emissions, the report found. Another study released last month calculated that beef consumption had to fall in order for Earth's current resources to be able to feed the 10 billion people expected to be living on this planet in 30 years. Europeans would have to eat 22 percent less beef for everyone else to have enough food, the study found.
At least one Goldsmiths student is ready to give up campus burgers for the planet.
"I think it's a really positive move—Goldsmiths is recognising its own power and accountability in being more environmentally conscious," 20-year-old psychology student Isabelle Gosse told The Guardian. "Banning the sale of beef meat on campus, phasing out single-use plastics and the other pledges that the new warden has made highlights the current climate emergency that the world is facing."
The Goldsmiths Students' Union also supports the decision, HuffPost reported.
The beef ban will go into effect at the start of the coming academic year. The school will also switch to a 100 percent renewable energy supplier as soon as its current contract ends, according to The Guardian. Further, its endowment fund will cease investments in companies that earn more than 10 percent of their revenue from fossil fuel extraction starting December 2019.
"It's encouraging to see an institution like Goldsmiths not simply declaring a climate emergency, but acting on it," Greenpeace UK Climate Emergency Campaigner Rosie Rogers told The Guardian. "From energy use, to food sales and plastic pollution—all universities and organisations with campus sites can make changes across their facilities that are better for our planet. We call on others to urgently follow suit, and to include cutting all ties from fossil fuel funding in their climate emergency response."
Goldsmiths currently emits around 3.7 million kilograms (approximately 8.2 million pounds) of carbon per year, according to figures released by the university. That number is down nearly 10 percent from what it was three years ago, Goldsmiths said.
But for Goldsmiths Students' Union President Joe Leam it's still too high.
"It is clear our university has a huge carbon footprint," he wrote in a blog quoted by HuffPost. "The promise to have ended this by 2030 at the latest, with the hope of doing so by 2025, is one which is needed. Whilst this plan/action is only the beginning, and much work is yet to be done, it is fantastic to see Goldsmiths taking responsibility and responding to its impact on the climate."
The world's population will hit 10 billion in just 30 years and all of those people need to eat. To feed that many humans with the resources Earth has, we will have to cut down the amount of beef we eat, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute.
The report makes several concrete recommendations, including cutting beef consumption. To feed a growing world, Americans will need to eat about 40 percent less beef and Europeans need to cut their consumption by 22 percent. That averages out to a burger and a half per week, as CNN reported.
This calculation is part of a 565-page report that looks at ways humans can optimize production of natural resources to sustain a growing population and navigate agriculture through the climate crisis. Titled Creating a Sustainable Food Future, the report released Wednesday identified the gaps in food production and global demand that need to be filled in order to prevent a catastrophe, according to CNN.
Right now, Americans consume an equivalent of three hamburgers per week, but beef only provides 3 percent of the calories Americans consume while it is responsible for nearly half of the agricultural land and greenhouse gas emissions associated with U.S. diets.
"This is a huge global challenge," said Tim Searchinger, the report's lead author, as USA Today reported. He suggests that consumers should shift from cattle, sheep and goats to chicken, pork and vegetable-based alternatives.
Providing a healthy diet for a population of 10 billion will require a massive overhaul to farming, which already swallows up 90 percent of all the water humans use and coughs up one-fourth of the annual global emissions that cause global warming. Yet, despite our intensive agriculture, more than 820 million people still experience chronic hunger, according to the UN, as EcoWatch reported this week.
"There is a pathway to achieve this but the challenge is even bigger than any of us thought," said Richard Waite of the World Resources Institute and a co-author of the report, as National Geographic reported.
While the report has many recommendations for dealing with the world's impending food crisis, the authors suggest that the most impactful way to keep the climate crisis at bay and to feed the world is to simply cut back on ruminant meat, according to CNN. This is especially true as more money flows into the developing world and the demand for food outpaces population growth. The demand for meat and dairy is expected to rise nearly 70 percent, while the global demand for beef, sheep and goat, is expected rise even faster to 88 percent.
"We have to produce 30 percent more food on the same land area, stop deforestation, [and] cut carbon emissions for food production by two-thirds," said Waite, as National Geographic reported.
The report says that beef, goat, and sheep farming takes up 20 times more land than farming for beans, chickpeas, and lentils per gram of protein. It also generates 20 times as much greenhouse gas emissions, according to CNN.
Besides insisting that high-meat consumers move toward more plant-based diets, the report also calls for strategies to reduce the one-third of food that is lost or wasted, use technology to boost crop yields, and improve the management of wild fisheries and aquaculture farms, according to National Geographic.
Correction: This post has been updated to correct a typo.
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georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
A recent move by the American beef industry is no exception. Earlier this month, faced with its involvement in the planet's environmental crisis, the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef put together a voluntary framework to "assess" and "encourage" sustainability and hand out recognition certificates.
But it's totally inadequate. This framework lacks accountability, transparency and, above all, truth about beef's impacts.
Agriculture takes up more than a third of the world's land surface, uses nearly 75 percent of freshwater resources and contributes up to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Infographic by supporter @sjcprojects #cowspiracy #animalagriculture #environment #goolantbased #vegan https://t.co/K6DUzwiCQF— Cowspiracy (@Cowspiracy)1555698519.0
In the agricultural industry, beef production takes the biggest bite out of the planet's natural resources. The American beef addiction creates the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 32.3 million cars. Crops grown to feed livestock in the U.S. take up nearly half the landmass of the lower 48 states.
Grazing cattle destroy vegetation, trample land, damage soils, contaminate waterways with fecal waste and disrupt natural ecosystem processes. And livestock-wildlife conflicts have contributed to the killing of millions of animals every year and have been a key driver in the war against wolves.
To mitigate damage from this incredibly damaging industry, we need solutions with real teeth. In fact, scientific research shows that the U.S. needs to reduce consumption of beef by 90 percent to meet climate targets.
Unfortunately the beef industry has long fought environmental protections like the Clean Water Rule, which attempts to hold the industry accountable for pollution that threatens drinking water and wildlife habitats.
The industry has also attempted to strong-arm state and federal policymakers into preventing producers of plant-based foods from using the words "meat" and "milk" on their products. Beef lobbyists have argued against including sustainability in the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Rather than addressing the industry's underhanded approach to environmental policy or acknowledging the fundamental problems with mass-scale beef production, the roundtable has turned to greenwashing.
Bringing together stakeholders to identify the harms of beef production is a step in the right direction, but this framework is a bit like Big Tobacco releasing advice for safe smoking. It fails to admit that beef is bad for the planet, particularly at current rates of consumption. It also falls short of creating clear steps to address that problem.
What's worse, the framework is intentionally weak – seeking to appease beef producers instead of working to build trust with consumers by acknowledging hard truths about this destructive industry.
These weaknesses likely grew from the roundtable's very makeup. It is composed of beef producers and processors, along with giant corporations like McDonald's, Taco Bell, Walmart and Costco in the retail and food service sector, and public advocates. The members claim to represent 30 percent of the nation's cattle and produce 20 billion pounds of beef.
That scale of production means the roundtable can also take credit for largely contributing to 544 billion pounds of greenhouses gases and 784 billion pounds of manure per year. Its members also use more than 1 billion acres of land and 30 trillion gallons of water.
With impacts that big, the public is a stakeholder.
It's time for the roundtable to stop catering to its polluting members. Beef producers need to earn our trust, not claim it. And until they're ready to do so, we must support policies, retailers and producers shifting our food system away from excess meat and dairy and toward more plant-based foods.
Jennifer Molidor is a senior food campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.
"Food waste is a massive issue facing us all," Compass CEO Dominic Blakemore said on the Stop Food Waste Day website. "As the world's leading food service company operating in 50 countries, it is part of our social purpose to raise awareness and make a positive impact to reduce waste across the world."
When we waste food we also waste the resources that went into producing it! Every year the #water 💧 used to produc… https://t.co/XCRqqXj3Uy— FAO (@FAO)1556116908.0
So how can you reduce your waste? The website offers some tips.
- Make a list before shopping and only buy what you need.
- Freeze leftovers like bread, fruit and vegetables if you don't have time to eat them fresh.
- Be especially careful with meat and poultry because it uses so much water to raise; wasting a pound of beef is like running the shower 370 minutes.
- Don't toss wilting veggies; letting them sit in water for five to 10 minutes should revive them.
- If you accidentally overcook veggies, use them for soups or sauces instead of tossing them.
- Seal food tightly before freezing to avoid freezer burn, which is caused by oxidization and makes food less appetizing.
- Eat bananas even if they have brown spots.
- If you have children, start them off with small portion sizes.
- Ninety percent of people throw away food before it's really bad, so make sure something really can't be eaten before throwing it out.
- Check your fridge before shopping and meal plan to avoid waste.
You can also take the Stop Food Waste pledge to spread awareness on social media.
Happy #StopFoodWasteDay! We took the pledge to make today and everyday Stop Food Waste Day! We are committed to be… https://t.co/wbrbtOBsVZ— Stop Food Waste Day (@Stop Food Waste Day)1556111709.0
In honor of the day, Rachael Jackson wrote for National Geographic about why so much food is wasted.
One important reason is that people put too much faith in use-by dates. A study found that people were more likely to think older milk was drinkable if it didn't have a date; conversely, milk with a fresher date that was actually low quality was rated just fine by many participants.
Jackson also wrote that people are more likely to let themselves off the hook if they think the food they toss will be composted.
"Composting is not a bad thing, but you'd prefer to not create the food waste in the first place. It's going to have a lot more social and environmental benefits," Ohio State Food Waste Collaborative Director Brian Roe told Jackson.
Several groups and companies are trying to find innovative solutions to the food waste problem. The Brooklyn-based frozen pizza Scraps, for example, uses ingredients like broccoli leaves for pesto that are normally not eaten.
"We'd both recently heard that 40 percent of food is wasted in the U.S. each year, and we talked about how we could become part of the solution," co-founder Jessica Smith told Edible Brooklyn.
UK grocery chain Waitrose found a way to both reduce food waste and fight climate change in 2017 by using gas from discarded food, which produces 70 percent less carbon dioxide than diesel, to power delivery trucks, as Fast Company reported.
In our own kitchens, each of us can also make a change."I do think awareness is slowly growing," Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook Dana Gunders told National Geographic. "But I think there's still a disconnect between being aware that this is a global problem and connecting that to what you're actually doing when you scrape your plate into the garbage."
The outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O103 began March 1 and has hospitalized 20 people, but no one has died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
"Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants," CDC wrote. "Traceback investigations are ongoing to determine the source of raw ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where ill people reported eating."
As of an update Tuesday, the CDC said no common supplier of the beef had yet been found.
However, also on Tuesday, K2D Foods recalled around 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef over possible contamination with the same strain of E. coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced. Investigators are working to determine if the recalled beef is linked to the outbreak in any way.
#Recall: K2D Foods Recalls Raw Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli O103 Contamination https://t.co/zZWNbMvQ4P— USDA Food Safety (@USDA Food Safety)1556081178.0
K2D Foods does business as (DBA) Colorado Premium Foods and is based in Carrolton, Georgia. The recalled beef was produced on March 26, March 29, April 2, April 5, April 10 and April 12 and came in two 24-pound vacuum-packed packages in cardboard boxes labeled "GROUND BEEF PUCK" with "Use Thru" dates of April 14th, 17th, 20th, 23rd, 28th and 30th, according to FSIS. The products had an establishment code of "EST. 51308" and were sent to distributors in Ft. Orange, Florida and Norcross, Georgia.
The label information of the recalled beef.
The first cases in the outbreak were reported to the CDC by health officials in Kentucky and Georgia, Reuters reported. When it first announced the outbreak earlier this month, CDC said that it had infected 109 people in six states, according to CNN. It has since spread to 10, with cases reported in Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Virginia.
A map showing the state-by-state spread of the outbreak.
Symptoms usually begin three to four days after consuming contaminated food and include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some people infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can develop kidney failure, but no cases have been reported in this outbreak so far.
The CDC said that many infected people had bought trays or chubs of beef from grocery stores, according to Reuters. However, the agency is not recommending that consumers or restaurants stop cooking or serving beef at this time.
"Consumers and restaurants should handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness," the agency said.
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