Here were go again: The CSIRO to study environmental impact of Australian diets

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th May 2016

The CSIRO is conducting a survey to gauge the impact Australian diets have on the environment.

According to CSIRO research, if Australians followed the National Dietary Guidelines, the greenhouse gas contribution of the average diet could be cut by 25 per cent.

The survey will be conducted through the 2016 Healthy Diet Score which is Australia’s largest annual diet survey. In 2015, 70, 000 people took part in the online quiz.

This year is the first time the survey will be used to calculate what type of influence eating patterns have on the planet.

CSIRO Research Director for Nutrition and Health and the co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes, said the impact of poor eating habits reaches further than an individual’s waistline.

“Obesity and poor nutrition habits negatively affects the broader community. This year’s Healthy Diet Score will help us better qualify the environmental footprint from individuals eating habits,” Professor Noakes said.

Previous controversy

The decision to look at environmental impacts of diet comes despite previous controversy concerning mixing Australian eating habits and environmental considerations. In 2011, the National Health and Medical Research Council sparked debate when it factored in environmental impacts when developing its National Dietary Guidelines.

At the time, organisations such as the National Farmers Federation lobbied against the draft saying the guidelines should only consider nutritional needs. The final 2013 version of the guidelines did not take into account environmental impact issues.