NRP 69 indicates that the Confederation must intervene to offer healthy food from environmentally friendly production.
The Confederation must establish a 2050 food strategy offering the population the possibility of choosing a healthy diet resulting from sustainable production and distribution. These are the conclusions of PNR 69 presented Thursday in Bern.
The National Research Program “Healthy Eating and Sustainable Food Production” (PNR 69), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), has studied the interactions between food, health and the environment. Twenty-six research projects were carried out between 2013 and 2019, said its officials Thursday in Bern to the press at the time of the assessment.
According to his findings, the Swiss food system can offer healthier food today and tomorrow. And this food could come from sustainable production, processing and distribution systems, while strengthening the country’s security of supply.
To achieve this, Switzerland needs an explicit strategy for 2050 which defines the objectives and the necessary instruments and involves all the players. “Sectoral strategies will not be enough,” noted Fred Paccaud, honorary professor at the University of Lausanne and chairman of the management committee of PNR 69.
Fight against waste
As a first element, the researchers have developed recommendations that help reduce waste. In particular, this involves modifying the aesthetic criteria leading to the destruction of food, using new methods of preservation, or even developing intelligent packaging indicating the real state of the food preserved rather than based on dates. not always relevant.
This problem is important for Switzerland because half of its food depends on foreign supplies. This strong dependence results from the fact that two thirds of the environmental footprint of Swiss food is produced outside the country: the most effective way to reduce it is therefore to resolutely fight against losses and waste.
Thus, reducing the consumption of meat would both improve the health status of the population and reduce the environmental impact of farming, said Professor Paccaud. This reduction objective must, however, take into account the economic role of the production of meat and dairy products in Swiss agriculture.
In this context, the 2050 food strategy should, as a second element, present the instruments for a transition from agriculture. This is in particular to compensate for the losses caused by the reduction of meat consumption in the context of subsidizing peasant families.
Swiss agriculture must also be positioned as an actor in public health, by better supporting the indigenous production of fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes.
Consumers better involved
Third, experts call for increased political participation by consumers. The change in diet cannot be done without the support of the population. The latter must have credible information and recommendations that can be used to participate in the food, ecological and health transitions.
Consumer associations should participate in the development of the guidelines in the same way as associations representing the farming community, industry, gastronomy, environmental protection and health promotion.
PNR 69 also recommends that the Confederation study the advisability of extending the right of appeal to consumer associations and of enabling them to join collective complaints.
Finally, a fourth element of the 2050 food strategy consists of stimulating and improving the production, processing and distribution of healthy and sustainable food throughout the food chain.
Many research groups in NRP 69 have developed specific recommendations, whether they relate to agricultural holdings, soil pollution, interventions in canteens or in places of passage such as stations.
Other research groups have developed new tools to monitor caloric intake and help with weight loss and new approaches to combat heart disease.
The report points out that Switzerland is lagging behind other countries: the first national diet study was carried out in 2013 only.
(ats / nxp)