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Environmental sustainability issues for western food production

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Smetana, Sergiy; Oehen, Bernadette; Goyal, Shashank and Heinz, Volker (2020) Environmental sustainability issues for western food production. In: Nutritional and Health Aspects of Food in Western Europe. Elsevier, academic press, chapter 9, pp. 173-200.

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Summary

Traditional food is a fuzzy concept, challenging for the analysis and interpretation. Even if there are no exact distinctions between traditional foods, dietary patterns, or typical dishes, one differentiating criterion might be their relation to regional or local agricultural production. The biggest impact of traditional foods is associated with agricultural stage of production, which is connected to land cultivation requirements, irrigation and fertilization. Transportation and processing, on the other hand, play not so significant role, diminishing the importance of regional food concept. However, transportation and processing conditions in a great degree ensure the microbial safety and nutrients availability of food. The relation between environmental impact and food systems is not straightforward. An exclusively product-based environmental assessment is not sufficiently comprehensive and does not allow for a final verdict on the ecological sustainability of food products. Product-based life cycle assessment (LCA) of foods from intensive agriculture in most cases indicates their higher eco-efficiency comparing to traditional products. Consumption patterns in combination with complex food supply chains result in a wide variety of dietary patterns, which may reduce or increase the impact of traditional food. The growing interest in traditional food and supply chains and the involvement of citizens in local food networks might be in support of developing locally adapted food consumption patterns. However, such systems should not only rely on traditional practices of food production, but also on the recent development and efficient down-scaling of agricultural techniques, logistic schemes and processing equipment. Without inclusion of such advances, traditional practices of food production will not be an environmentally efficient solution for future generations.


EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:sustainability, food production, Environmental impact, Local food, Complex food system, LCAFood processing
Subjects: Food systems > Processing, packaging and transportation
Environmental aspects
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Europe
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland
Germany > Other organizations
DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-813171-8.00010-X
Deposited By: Oehen, Dipl. bot. Bernadette
ID Code:37340
Deposited On:25 Mar 2020 08:11
Last Modified:25 Mar 2020 08:11
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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