Eating away at food safety norms: A shadowy industry group shapes food policy around the world

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Updated: September 18, 2019 7:35:55 AM

The report states that global farm subsidies have a rather large climate-change footprint—1% of the $700 billion given as farm subsidies globally is used in a manner that benefits the environment.

persistence, food consumption, land consumption, hidden cost, Food and Land Use Coalition, FOLU, greenhouse gas emissions, financial express,financial express news, cattle production, deforestation, pollutionThe rest results in high emission cattle production, deforestation, and pollution from excessive use of fertilisers.

A recent report by Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) highlights the negative impact the current modes of food production, consumption, and land use have on the environment, and economy. According to the report, current methods have a hidden cost of $12 trillion a year—they are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (30%). The current modes of production, and consumption have also led to the degradation of the world’s wetlands, tropical forests, grasslands, and other habitats. The report warns that the hidden costs could amount to $16 trillion a year by 2050 if urgent measures aren’t taken to change the current patterns of food production and land use.

The report states that global farm subsidies have a rather large climate-change footprint—1% of the $700 billion given as farm subsidies globally is used in a manner that benefits the environment. The rest results in high emission cattle production, deforestation, and pollution from excessive use of fertilisers. The economic structure of the food system in itself fosters inequality. According to the report, of the 740 million people living in poverty, two-thirds are agricultural workers and their dependants. To tackle this, FOLU recommends a reform agenda, which is centred around 10 critical points—healthy diets, productive and regenerative agriculture, healthy and productive ocean, protecting and restoring nature, diversifying protein supply, among others. It states that if the 10 points are worked upon, then the current food and land use systems can provide food security, and healthy food for nine billion by 2050, and also tackle and mitigate climate change. Also, reduction in hidden costs would add $5.7 trillion to society annually by 2030, and $10.5 trillion annually by 2050. The report notes that reduction of hidden costs will also lead to a reduction in public health costs of $1.09 trillion a year by 2030.

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