Sweden First Country to Label Foods with Pollution Ratings

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Packaging labels in Sweden now inform shoppers not only the ingredients and calories of the food they buy, but also how much carbon dioxide was spewed into the atmosphere as a result of its production. The CO2 data is part of an effort by the Swedish government to educate its citizens on the ways they are helping, or hurting, the fight against global warming. Some experts say Sweden could cut its greenhouse emissions from food production by 20% to 50% if enough shoppers change their buying and eating habits.

For instance, the government would prefer Swedes eat more carrots, and fewer cucumbers and tomatoes. The latter two must be grown in heated greenhouses, which burn up lots of energy. Red meat is frowned upon because cattle farms tend to produce lots of emissions. But beans and chicken are okay.
Some Swedes don’t like the pollution ratings. “I wish I could say that the information has made me change what I eat, but it hasn’t,” Richard Lalander told The New York Times, while munching on a hamburger.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates (by Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times)


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