Articles

FSA's shellfish monitoring program phases out animal testing

Recently it was announced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that their shellfish monitoring programme has moved away from the traditional mouse bioassay for the detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and lipophilic toxins in commercially harvested shellfish. Non-animal testing, a long-term goal of the FSA and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science...
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Controlling footrot in sheep

Laura Green from the University of Warwick provided some interesting perspectives from her research into footrot in sheep and the best mechanisms of effectively controlling the condition in real economic conditions. Overall her results show that intervention at the individual level with antibiotics is the best system from both an economic and welfare consideration in terms of reduced...
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New compostable bioplastic film extends the shelf life of fruit and veg

Retail trials of Sirane’s Sira-Flex™ Resolve® have shown that it can extend the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables by four days, which could result in much less food wastage. The new film, made using a natural bio-polymer made from plants, optimises the balance between humidity control and O2 and CO2 permeability. Story source: industryintel.com
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IFPRI publish global food policy report

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has published a G lobal Food Policy Report providing an in-depth, contextualized look at the past year’s major food policy developments and events. It both raises and answers these key questions: What happened in food policy in 2011 and why? What challenges and opportunities resulted? What could have been done...
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Experiments under-predict plant responses to climate change

Knowing how plants respond to climate change could be vital to maintaining food supplies in the future. Historical records show how plants alter their flowering and growth patterns according to increased temperatures over the long-term, and ecologists also rely on experimental warming of small field plots to record plant responses to temperature variations in the short-term. A new...
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HGCA publish information sheet on no-till

HGCA have produced an information sheet on the no-till method of soil management, also known as direct drilling or zero tillage. It sets out key advantages and disadvantages of the no-till system, discusses crop yields, crop residues, cover crops, soil suitability, weeds, diseases and pests. It also takes into account environmental effects, greenhouse gas emissions and fuel usage.   ...
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Head of IFAD calls for increased investment in agriculture

Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has said that increased investment in agriculture is essential to achieving the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) in 2000. The MDGs were set as quantitative benchmarks to tackle extreme poverty with a deadline of 2015. Mr Nwanze has highlighted agriculture as the...
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Waste not want not – how to reduce the amount food thrown away

An interesting article in a Dutch magazine has highlighted the amount of food wasted, from the moment it is harvested to the point that we throw it in our household bins. Approximately 10% of the food we buy goes uneaten, and when you add the food that we don’t even get to buy - such as forked carrots that don’t even get as far as the supermarket, bruised apples or...
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Discovery of a genetic marker that could help control PRRS virus

A collaborative research project involving scientists from Kansas State University has identified a genetic marker which could help save the pork industry millions each year. The genetic marker identifies pigs with a reduced susceptibility to porcine reporductive and respiratory virus (PRRS). PRRS  causes still birth in breeding stock and respiratory tract...
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OECD publishes report on water quality and agriculture

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a report on “Water Quality and Agriculture: Meeting the Policy Challenge,” looking at the challenges presented by water contamination from farming. Water quality ranks high in OECD surveys of the public’s environmental concerns. The report has found little improvement over recent years in...
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RuScource briefing on beef and sheep emissions road map

RuSource have produced an interesting briefing based on ‘Down to Earth’ which updates work on the Eblex beef and sheep road map towards producing more while reducing emissions. To quote directly from the briefing document’s summary: “Agriculture’s target is an 11% reduction in annual emissions by 2020.  More than 90% of the total emissions for beef...
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The importance of Aquaculture in the 21st Century

A new report published by the FAO stipulates that aquaculture is the fastest-growing animal producing sector, accounting for nearly half (46%) of the world's food fish consumption, forecasted to surpass 50% by the end of this year. One of the key findings of the report, entitled World Aquaculture 2010, was that between 2000 and 2008, global fish production grew from 32.4...
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Supermarkets approached about the "sea lice" issue

A BBC investigatior approached three of the largest supermarkets in the UK (Waitrose, TESCO and Sainsbury's), asking them whether they took into account any potential sea lice impacts, from salmon farms, on wild trout and salmon when they drew up criteria for sourcing responsibly farmed salmon (link to report here ).
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Join this priority group to read articles about sustainable food supply and security

In order to see all the articles on this page you need to be registered with our network and joined to this priority group. Joining the group will reveal much more information and will also give you the option to be added to our mailing list and receive email alerts when new items are posted. How to join this group: Click on the 'Join this group' button on the...
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Sheep scab reinstated as a notifiable disease in Scotland

Next week sees the introduction of the Sheep Scab (Scotland) Order 2010, reinstating sheep scab as a notifiable disease. This change is due to come into force on the 17th of December, for more details see: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/12/08115538    
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Vote in the Economist online debate on Biotechnology - only two days to go!

The Economist is currently hosting an intriguing online debate on biotechnology: “This house believes that biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are complementary, not contradictory.” Pamela Ronald, Professor of plant pathology, University of California, Davis, and Charles Benbrook, Chief scientist, Organic Center, are defending and opposing the motion, respectively. Vote...
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Fighting back against Johne's disease

Johne’s disease is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, and has a significant impact on dairy herds causing a drop in milk production and the need to cull infected animals. It is estimated that it can cause losses of as much as $200,000 per year in a herd of 1,000 dairy cows. The increasing number of cases of Johne's disease suggests that there may be unknown sources...
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Food Security: Feeding the World in 2050

The latest edition of the Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society B, is a themed edition on Food Security available free on line here . In a set of 21 papers, this themed edition provides, forgive the expression, considerable food for thought. In his Preface to the edition, Professor Sir John  Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government states...
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