The EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission reviews guidelines for healthy and diverse diets and sustainable food systems. – Food tank

The EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission is launching a new report to update the global community on their healthy diets and goals of sustainable food systems.

The first report from the EAT-Lancet Commission was published in 2019. The EAT-Lancet 2.0 report will be launched in 2024 and will focus on different dietary guidelines, local diets and food justice. In addition, the report will include 12-month global consultations for the public and other stakeholders of global food systems to share their views on a transition to sustainable food systems and the modeling efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to evaluate multiple pathways to sustainable food systems.

The second EAT-Lancet Commission brings together 25 scientists from 19 countries and five continents. The Commission includes EAT, a scientific non-profit organization in partnership with the Stockholm Resilience Center (SRC), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Harvard University and the One Consultive Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The Commission’s research “will consider the role that nutritious and sustainable foods play in culture,” says Shakuntala Thilsted, co-chair of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission and winner of the 2021 World Food Award, says Food Tank. Thilsted adds that the Commission wants to “incorporate and integrate indigenous and traditional knowledge with up-to-date scientific evidence”.

During the Commission’s press conference in Stockholm + 50, Johan Rockström, co-chair of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission and director of PIK, said the EAT-Lancet 2.0 report will include guidance on investing in regenerative agricultural systems that sequester carbon. Walter Willet, co-chair of the commission and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, adds that carbon capture will be a crucial part of the solution to staying “below 1.5 or two degrees Celsius by the end of the century. . “

The policy suggestions within the 2019 report appear to be “a silver bullet,” Matthias Kaiser, a professor emeritus at the Center for the Study of Sciences and Humanities at the University of Bergen, Norway, told Food Tank. He believes that the simplified recommendations contained in the 2019 report are not usable globally. Kaiser also says the 2019 report did not address the uncertainties and complexities of global food chains. He says the next report should consider “different food identities, food cultures and traditions”.

Kaiser notes that it is possible to reduce the consumption or production of red meat, but the guide should address the specificity in “different regions and cultures”. In coastal cultures, for example, says Kaiser, a “large amount of protein” can come from seafood and less from red meat. While the areas with lower income or that are located far from the sea, “have no supply chains” to support a diet rich in seafood.

Stineke Oenema, executive secretary of UN Nutrition, tells Food Tank that “it’s important to look at the context” when making dietary recommendations. In low-income countries, Oenema notes, it may be beneficial for consumers to consume more animal protein.

At the EAT-Lancet 2.0 press conference, Willet said the Commission will take a “new look” at the impact of red meat on healthy diets, among “many other relationships between diet and health”.

The 2019 report also sparked skepticism about the involvement of the private food industry in the 2019 EAT-Lancet report. Scientist Nina Teicholz writes: “[EAT’s] the enormous level of corporate support raises serious questions about the interests behind this report. “In particular, EAT’s Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH) initiative includes multi-billion dollar food industry giants such as Pepsico, Danone, Syngenta and Unilever.

The EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission tells Food Tank: “EAT works with food system actors from all sectors, including businesses, civil society, governments (local, national and global). He believes that the alignment between the actors, which reflects a diversity of perspectives and plausible paths, is fundamental to support the transformation, in particular by creating a space for dialogue and discussion between divergent voices “.

Kaiser tells Food Tank that power relations within the food industry may implicitly influence the Commission’s recommendations. “If we see that about 70 percent of all food consumed globally comes from small producers,” says Kaiser, “it’s not necessarily [in] the interest of the large multinationals that represent the realities of the food system at our disposal “.

The 2019 report was written by experts “from the rich and industrialized countries of the global North,” says Kaiser. Kaiser argues that the next report incorporates a more bottom-up approach. This, she says, should include structures for “local, regional and cultural food identities that would improve the sustainability of food consumption” instead of top-down guidelines of rich, industrialized nations.

Kaiser also recommends that the Commission focus not only on the nutrition sciences, or areas of health sciences, but also include the social sciences, “such as anthropology, sociology, political science, which concern structures of power”. inside the food system. “What they need to do is have an appeal, rather than a recipe,” says Kaiser, “an appeal to these diversities and suggestions, as a different path to sustainable food can be developed from existing traditions, socio-economic relationships or structures. of power”.

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Photo courtesy of Alexander Schimmeck, Unsplash

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