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Appendix to the Australian Dietary Guidelines: Dietary Guidelines through an environmental lens submission

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General Comments

This environmental lens appendix is a great opportunity to create a very practical tool for clinicians and policy makers. Removing it or watering it down because of industry pressure would be a terrible loss and a short sighted view of our food and health (individual, community, planet). 

G1 and G2

This section should highlight the need for sustainable dietary choices. Is should include a call for collaboration between sectors in researching the impacts of locally produced foods, the need for policy to support individual dietary choices, making environmentally sustainable and healthy food choices the easy choice. This is a good opprtunity to rally and set the scene for the people who are most likely to use it.   

G3 The Guidelines through an environmental lens:

  • The information is useful
  • Under the first section of Guideline 2 under fruit and vegetables - fantastic inclusion re: imperfect fruit and veg!. I would also include something on supporting local and Australian farmers by purchasing their products in order to preserve valuable agricultural land AND it would be good to encourage growing some of your own foods.
  • Under Guideline 2 under the protein section, it would be good to order the food items in terms of their environmental impact (e.g. plant based protein sources, eggs, poultry and pork). It would also be good to highlight the need for Australian produced meats and the benefits of sustainable production methods (eg grass fed, organic etc).
  • Under Guideline 3 a. last line… add ‘and packaging’ after ‘with their production’
  • Under Guideline 3 c. (sugar-sweetened drinks) I would add that the production of plastic bottles and other packaging requires energy and contributes to landfill
  • Under Guideline 4. I am glad that breastfeeding is included but it is not accurate that it “does not put any demands on environmental resources” just sigficantly less than formula feeding.  The additional energy/food requirements for breastfeeding (although small) do contribute to greenhouse gasses as well as any other consumables that might be used e.g. breast pads, pumps, bottles. Perhaps the statement could be changed to "BF is the most enviornmentally friendly and healthiest choice for infant feeding".  


G4 Practical Tips

This section could be a very useful tool for both clinicians and policy makers. It needs to be expanded to incorporate additional ideas and tips. Also it could be broken down under individual, community, policy, system sections. For example:

3. I would add ‘composting, worm farming and keeping chickens’ as suggested ways to recycle at home.

Additional dot points could include:

6. Consider the environment when preparing foods. This includes conserving water and using and maintaining energy efficient kitchen appliances.

7. Choose organically produced and or local food and drink items where possible. Choose foods with less processing and packaging.

Under a community heading:

8. Look for opportunities to buy cooperatively and support local agriculture. 

9. Growing some of your own food can promote local biodiversity and provide an opportunity to connect with community. 

Under policy or system:

Recommendations to include food policy interventions that would support the environment at local, state and federal government levels. Examples could include:

  • local council to provide compost bins (similar to the green bins many councils now provide for green waste)
  • regulations making it easier to have chickens in suburbs (local govt)
  • local planning to preserve peri-urban farming land
  • local planning to support the development of community gardens and use of common land for urban agriculture
  • policies around the trade and importation of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • subsidising 4-star rated kitchen white goods and water efficient taps
  • proper and transparent and effective labelling for organic and free range foods
  • mapping of geography and climate to identify ideal growing locations thereby minimising the need for additional inputs
  • multisectroal approach to food and food supply (nutrition, agriculture, economic etc)


Page reviewed: 4 February, 2013