Thursday, 2 February 2023

Beef is not sustainable, so why are we subsidising it for export?

 from the Irish Times

Cutting Irish beef exports to meet national climate commitments would increase global greenhouse gas emissions, Teagasc’s beef enterprise leader has claimed.

This idea of “carbon leakage”, whereby emissions savings from livestock cuts in Ireland would be reversed by increased production elsewhere, has been a long-standing argument used by the livestock sector to deflect ambitious emissions reductions. But scratching below the surface reveals several flaws.

Beef is an extremely carbon-intensive way of producing protein, no matter how it’s produced, and it is not clear that Irish beef is any better than other systems in this regard. Some studies show that beef produced in pasture-based, suckler systems such as Ireland’s has a higher carbon footprint than more intensive feedlot systems.

This is particularly true when the carbon associated with land use is counted. Irish grassland on drained peaty soil is a significant source of carbon dioxide, and the huge land requirement to produce protein with cattle prevents carbon removal through reforesting and restoring Ireland’s main native ecosystem, temperate rainforest.

In any case, Irish beef and dairy exports are not simply meeting global demand, as claimed. The Irish State is actively increasing demand for beef and dairy to premium markets abroad with marketing using so-called green credentials and ministerial trade missions. But these green credentials are not backed by evidence, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ireland’s agriculture emissions are at an all-time high.

Methane, the most significant greenhouse gas in agriculture, is responsible for about half of a degree of global warming already. Its concentration in the atmosphere is two-and-a-half times larger than it would be without human activities. An immediate, steep cut in global methane emissions is necessary to prevent the worst effects of climate change according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

A switch towards lower-carbon diets in high-income countries is among the measures necessary to achieve this, and the idea is gaining traction. “Food tsar” Henry Dimbleby says the UK must cut meat consumption by 30 per cent by 2030 to meet its climate and biodiversity targets.

The Dutch government has announced €60 million into research for cultivated meat – real meat that is grown from animal cells in vats, bypassing animals, with a far lower environmental footprint. Cultivated (or cellular) meat has been approved safe to eat in the US by the Food and Drug Administration and the sector is growing rapidly.

This innovation represents the transformative changes that are possible in the global food system, which can cut greenhouse gas emissions and allow large ecosystems to be restored by freeing up the land we use to feed animals.

A transformation of similar scale is already under way in the Irish power system, where stakeholders are working towards a fossil fuel-free electricity system in the 2030s. There are also signs that a similar transformation of the transport sector is starting to take off, with transport decarbonisation policy now prioritising car-free mobility.

But actors are still pushing strongly against a transformation of food production and land use, using arguments like carbon leakage.

I have suggested before that the great expertise in Ireland’s agrifood sector should be directed towards alternative proteins, like cellular meat. Some plant-based protein sources, like legumes, peas and (surprisingly) quinoa, grow well in Irish conditions, but there is a deficit of research and support.

Teagasc representatives have emphasised the need to prioritise the economic sustainability of beef, but the elephant in the room is that it is completely uneconomical. Subsidies make up 139 per cent of cattle rearing farm incomes, meaning the average suckler farm used more than €4,000 of direct payments to cover operating losses in 2021. Sheep farms barely fare better and leave our uplands in a poor ecological state.

Why are we subsidising beef and lamb for the export market to the detriment of climate and the local environment? These are not sustainable systems by any metric, yet the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue still claims, incredibly, that Ireland is the “sustainable food capital of the world”.

As one of the largest beef exporters in the world, and a big methane emitter, Ireland must show better and braver leadership. That Micheál Martin signed the Global Methane Pledge as then taoiseach at the Glasgow climate summit in 2021 and declined to set a national target consistent with this – a 30 per cent cut in methane by 2030 – sets a terrible example.

No one wants to see beef imports from deforested regions, and the EU has made progress by banning imports of such goods. It should go further and make strong environmental conditions attached to trade deals: it would be a blow for Irish farmers to see Brazilian beef replace Irish in European supermarkets. But the time for using other countries’ poor climate record as cover for Ireland’s is long past.

Hannah Daly is professor in sustainable energy at University College Cork. Read more from Prof Daly, here.

Φρέσκα φρούτα-λαχανικά: Χαμηλή κατανάλωση από τους Ευρωπαίους millennials

 Μειωμένη κατανάλωση λόγω της κρίσης – Λανθασμένη η αντίληψη ότι τα φρέσκα είναι πιο ακριβά – Απαιτείται ολιστική ενημέρωση των καταναλωτών.

το πλήρες άρθρο είναι εδώ.

Monday, 30 January 2023

Ελλάδα: Νέες ετικέτες με QR Code για τα ΠΟΠ κρασιά

Πηγή : 

Εκσυγχρονίζεται το σύστημα ελέγχου των ΠΟΠ κρασιών της χώρας μας – Καταργούνται οι αναχρονιστικές χάρτινες ταινίες ελέγχου ΠΟΠ οίνων – Πρόσβαση των καταναλωτών στην πληροφορία

Τις δυνατότητες της τεχνολογίας αξιοποιεί ο τομέας του κρασιού ανοίγοντας νέους δρόμους στη ψηφιακή εποχή. Σύμφωνα με όσα ανέφερε η γενική γραμματέας του υπουργείου Αγροτικής Ανάπτυξης και Τροφίμων, Χριστιάνα Καλογήρου στο πλαίσιο συνέντευξης Τύπου που πραγματοποίησε η Εθνική Διεπαγγελματική Οργάνωση Αμπέλου και Οίνου το σύστημα ελέγχου των ΠΟΠ κρασιών της χώρας εκσυγχρονίζεται.

Συγκεκριμένα, το υπουργείο προχώρησε στη σύσταση ομάδας εργασίας για τον εκσυγχρονισμό του συστήματος χορήγησης ταινιών ελέγχου οίνων ΠΟΠ. Έργο της ομάδας ήταν η διερεύνηση εκσυγχρονισμού του συστήματος χορήγησης ταινιών ελέγχου οίνων ΠΟΠ, μέσα από τη διασύνδεση των υφισταμένων διαδικασιών και ψηφιακών συστημάτων του υπουργείου (αμπελουργικό μητρώο, δήλωση συγκομιδής, δήλωση παραγωγής, δήλωση αποθεμάτων) με νέα ηλεκτρονική διαδικασία κατάταξης οίνων ΠΟΠ και ενός νέου ολοκληρωμένου συστήματος σήμανσης οίνων ΠΟΠ.

Οι διαδικασίες ολοκληρώθηκαν και όπως ανακοίνωσε η κ. Καλογήρου «ο τομέας του κρασιού αξιοποιώντας τις δυνατότητες της τεχνολογίας εισέρχεται πλέον στη ψηφιακή εποχή. Από τις αναχρονιστικές χάρτινες ταινίες ελέγχου ΠΟΠ οίνων περνάμε στο QR Code, μέσω του οποίου οι καταναλωτές θα έχουν πρόσβαση στην πληροφορία». Πρόσθεσε επίσης, ότι «τις επόμενες ημέρες αναμένεται η απόφαση της ΚΕΠΟ και από εκεί και πέρα μπαίνουμε στο στάδιο υλοποίησης».με QR Code για τα ΠΟΠ κρασιά

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Scientists suggest eating oily fish linked to lower risk of kidney disease

 from the Guardian.

“Among the richest dietary sources of these fatty acids are fatty cold-water fish – for example, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herrings – and to a less extent shellfish, like oysters, mussels, and crab.”

The findings support guidelines recommending consumption of oily fish and other seafood as part of a healthy diet.

“Current dietary recommendations in most countries suggest at least two servings of fish per week, preferably oily fish, which will provide about 250mg/day of long-chain omega 3s,” said Marklund.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

There is a war on nature. Dom Phillips was killed trying to warn you about it

 Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira have been killed in an undeclared global war against nature and the people who defend it. Their work mattered because our planet, the threats to it and the activities of those who threaten it matter. That work must be continued.

the full story is here.

Monday, 23 January 2023

Traces of controversial weedkiller detected in a quarter of Irish people tested

 source: the Irish Times

An investigation into exposure to glyphosate in Irish families has detected low -level traces of the controversial herbicide in a quarter of people tested.

The research project is the first of its kind to investigate levels of background exposure to glyphosate among Irish households.

Glyphosate is the most frequently used weedkiller in the EU. The European Commission is re-evaluating its use, primarily because of human health concerns. It has been or will soon be banned in at least 10 countries, and at least 15 others have restricted its use. Farmers in Germany must stop using it from 2024.

Led by exposure science researchers at the University of Galway, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine in Bochum, Germany, and the German Environment Agency, the study tested urine samples collected from farm and non-farm families for glyphosate and its main human metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA).


Dr Marie Coggins, senior lecturer in exposure science at UG said: “The glyphosate exposure data is relevant as the European Commission evaluate their renewal assessment for this controversial pesticide.

“Although the exposure data reported is low compared to the current acceptable daily intake value set by [the European Food Safety Authority] EFSA, our risk assessment could change following the publication of the European Food Safety Authority’s renewal assessment in early 2023,” she said.

The data suggests occupational users may have a slightly higher exposure than background levels, “which could and should be reduced further by substitution with less harmful methods, careful chemical handling practices and the use of exposure controls such as personal protective equipment”, Dr Coggins said.

A total of 68 families took part – 14 of whom were living on farms, with one of those family members spraying glyphosate-based pesticide. The study analysed tests from 226 people and their responses to a detailed dietary and lifestyle questionnaire. Glyphosate was detectable in 26 per cent of samples. AMPA was detectable in 59 per cent of samples.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

The food Processors: Ο Ν. Γδοντέλης αναλύει τις διατροφικές τάσεις του μέλλοντος

Πώς έχουν αλλάξει οι διατροφικές συνήθειες και ποιες είναι οι νέες τάσεις; Ποια θα είναι η διατροφή του μέλλοντος; Πως η προσέγγιση για Βιωσιμότητα (sustainability) επηρεάζει το πιάτο του καταναλωτή. Πως επηρεάζει η έννοια της ευζωίας των ζώων (animal welfare) το πιάτο του καταναλωτή και πως θα την επηρεάσει στο μέλλον. Υπάρχει νομικό ή ρυθμιστικό πλαίσιο που διέπει και περιγράφει τη «διατροφή» του μέλλοντος;

Οι The food Processors Νίκος Γκιώνης και Λεωνή Λειβαδίτη συζήτησαν αυτό το θέμα με τον Νίκο Γδοντέλη , ιδρυτή του