Friday, February 5, 2010

Sweden Mandates Carbon Emissions Labels on Food

New labels listing the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of foods, from whole wheat pasta to fast food burgers, are appearing on some grocery items and restaurant menus in Sweden, which is expected to cut the nation’s emissions from food production by 20 to 50 percent, reports the New York Times.

Ulf Bohman, head of the Nutrition Department at the Swedish National Food Administration, who was given the task last year of establishing new food guidelines (PDF) with equal weight for climate and health, told the New York Times that Sweden is the first to do it.

Some of the proposed new dietary guidelines, released over the summer, may seem surprising for some, reports the New York Times. As an example, they recommend that Swedes favor carrots over cucumbers and tomatoes, for example, because the latter two must be grown in heated greenhouses, which consume energy, and are advised to substitute beans or chicken for red meat, due to the heavy greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising cattle, according to the newspaper.

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