The government needs to intervene to ensure people eat less meat, salt, sugar and fat, according to the influential scientific council for government policy (WRR) in a new report.
The WRR advises the government on ‘future developments of great public interest’ and focuses on sustainable food production in its latest report, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.
The organisation says despite the importance of agricultural exports to the Dutch economy, the Netherlands should produce less dairy and meat products. The Netherlands should also develop official policy toward food, rather than toward agriculture, the council says.
The current approach, with the focus on production, has been very successful and led to an abundant supply of good, cheap food. However, natural resources are being depleted and agricultural land is become exhausted, the council warns.
In addition, the shortage of water and phosphates and a manure surplus are all having an impact on biodiversity. At the same time, obesity is an increasing problem internationally, as is the increase in resistant bacteria in factory farming.
To counteract the effects of current farming policy, we need to eat less meat and dairy products and grow food more sustainably, the WRR says in its recommendations. Fat, sugar and salt in food should be reduced and the current plethora of labeling be reduced to just two.
‘Production and consumption in the Netherlands are contributing to the global ecological problem,’ the council states. Dairy products and meat have a ‘disproportional impact’ and it would be good for both the environment and human health to produce and consume less, the council says.
The Netherlands no longer has an agricultural ministry and its work is now done by the economic affairs department, the Volkskrant points out. Deputy economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma said in a reaction the report is an ‘important’ document which ‘asks the right questions’.
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