Food Should Have Environmental Impact Labels, Says Scientist

He believes it would help mitigate the huge planetary cost of our food system
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Dried out sweetcorn

We are getting close to a climate crisis (Photo: Licensed from Adobe. Do not re-use without permission)

Food should come with mandatory labeling about its environmental impact, says Oxford University scientist Joseph Poore writing for The Guardian.

He points out that electrical appliances come with this information under law. So why not food, which it describes as threatening '10,000 species with extinction, emits about 30 percent of greenhouse gases, and drives 80 percent of our nitrogen and phosphorus pollution'.

The editorial follows the release of a UN report this week, described as 'landmark', which warned that we have just 12 years to avert climate disaster. Among the mitigating steps to take were moving away from land-heavy animal products in our diets.

Planet Earth in peoples' hands

We are facing a climate crisis (Photo: Licensed from Adobe. Do not re-use without permission)

Calling on the Prime Minister

Moore is not unique in his position: a petition has been launched urging Prime Minister Theresa May to 'make the labeling of food to show its environmental impact mandatory'.

Started by Ollie Evans, it says: "As outlined in the recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) we are heading towards an environmental breakdown if we don't drastically cut our greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping global temperature rise under 2C from pre-industrial levels is critical in avoiding widespread flooding, extreme droughts and the eradication of coral reefs.

"The irresponsible production of animal products is the main environmental culprit in the food world. Animal agriculture produces 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transportation industry...

"What I suggest is mandatory environmental labels on all food items. It worked incredibly well with washing machines, fridges and televisions...These labels would support consumer choice as well as holding suppliers to account for the environmental impact of what they produce, meaning cutting emissions would be of higher priority. "

You can find out more about the petition here