Warning: our global diet is not sustainable

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Rick Pendrous, Food Manufacture editor
Rick Pendrous, Food Manufacture editor

Related tags: Global food security, Nutrition, Sustainability, Food security

What with the UK's referendum on EU membership next month, the government's Childhood Obesity Strategy on the horizon and the National Living Wage now in place, the food and drink industry has a lot to think about. If all that wasn't enough, some bigger players face the Apprenticeship Levy from next April and the soft drinks sector can look forward to a sugar tax in 2018.

Given all the attention being paid to these concerns, it would be easy to forget that the food sector faces a far more serious long-term crisis. That's the one associated with food security, if governments around the world and the industry itself fail to address some far more serious issues surrounding food security.

So, it was appropriate that this year' s Institute of Food Science & Technology's (IFST's) spring conference was devoted to global food sustainability and ways of cutting the unacceptably high levels of food waste in the supply chain.

While some politicians might have been somewhat distracted from former chief scientist Professor Sir John Beddinton's dire warnings about a 'perfect storm' of food, energy and water security in the context of climate change, most environmentalists have not. They consider these matters the biggest existential threat facing the planet.

It was against this background that Tim Benton, professor of population ecology at the University of Leeds and champion for the UK's Global Food Security Programme, told delegates at the the IFST conference that unless we radically alter our food system, we are facing temperature rises of between 4°C and 5°C and catastrophic climate change. "Our global diet is not sustainable," he warned.

Surely, that should be a salutory reminder to us all.

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1 comment

global diet

Posted by howard scaife,

professor Tim Benton of Leeds uni,s comment that "our global diet is not sustainable " is spot on, To pile tax on business to try and solve the problem is not the answer.
The real reason for global warming is that there are now too many people in the world and with ever increasing populations in the third world it will get worse.
Education programs to maintain population levels at a sustainable level is the only solution.Educate not procreate should be the UN mandate

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