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Examining the Environmental Impacts of the Dairy and Baby Food Industries: Are First-Food Systems a Crucial Missing Part of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems Agenda Now Underway?

1
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary University, London E1 4NS, UK
2
Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden
3
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University, Geelong 3220, Australia
4
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong 3220, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Carlos Corvalan and Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312678
Received: 18 October 2021 / Revised: 15 November 2021 / Accepted: 29 November 2021 / Published: 1 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change)
Food systems are increasingly being understood as driving various health and ecological crises and their transformation is recognised as a key opportunity for planetary health. First-food systems represent an underexplored aspect of this transformation. Despite breastfeeding representing the optimal source of infant nutrition, use of commercial milk formula (CMF) is high and growing rapidly. In this review, we examine the impact of CMF use on planetary health, considering in particular its effects on climate change, water use and pollution and the consequences of these effects for human health. Milk is the main ingredient in the production of CMF, making the role of the dairy sector a key area of attention. We find that CMF use has twice the carbon footprint of breastfeeding, while 1 kg of CMF has a blue water footprint of 699 L; CMF has a significant and harmful environmental impact. Facilitation and protection of breastfeeding represents a key part of developing sustainable first-food systems and has huge potential benefits for maternal and child health. View Full-Text
Keywords: breast milk; commercial milk formula; climate change; environment; water use breast milk; commercial milk formula; climate change; environment; water use
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pope, D.H.; Karlsson, J.O.; Baker, P.; McCoy, D. Examining the Environmental Impacts of the Dairy and Baby Food Industries: Are First-Food Systems a Crucial Missing Part of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems Agenda Now Underway? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 12678. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312678

AMA Style

Pope DH, Karlsson JO, Baker P, McCoy D. Examining the Environmental Impacts of the Dairy and Baby Food Industries: Are First-Food Systems a Crucial Missing Part of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems Agenda Now Underway? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(23):12678. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312678

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pope, Daniel H., Johan O. Karlsson, Phillip Baker, and David McCoy. 2021. "Examining the Environmental Impacts of the Dairy and Baby Food Industries: Are First-Food Systems a Crucial Missing Part of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems Agenda Now Underway?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 23: 12678. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312678

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