Board of Ag takes issue with Food Agency's suggestions
The National Food Agency is thinking about recommending in their new guidelines that when it comes to certain foods, people should eat what's produced nearby, however the Board of Agriculture sees many unanswered questions.
"You can't say in general that produce grown in Sweden has less of an impact on the envrionment or climate than produce grown, for example, in Spain," Katarina Johansson, who wrote the board's reply to the agency's plan, told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
However, when Swedish Radio News asked Erland Karlsson, who works with analysis at the board, if it wasn't more environmentally friendly to buy produce grown outdoors, nearby, than to buy the same type of produce that had been transported through all of Europe, and he admitted that often it was.
In a report written in 2010, the board of agriculture had already identified that the term "produced nearby" (närproducerat, in Swedish) was too vague, and that, therefore, consumers wanting to make decisions that were climate-smart would stand a chance of being misled.
Anna-Karin Johansson, an environmental strategist at the food agency, said that they would be looking extra closely at the formulation of this, but said what they want to highlight is the significance of transportation and also the usage of substances used to protect produce.
"Reality is complex, and so is the balancing act of putting together advice that is simple and usable," she said to the newspaper.
The board of agriculture also reacted to the food agency's plan to advise people to eat according to what's in season, criticizing it as too vague as well.
"How long is a Swedish season? Does it include greenhouse production? Does it include storage? We have to look at these issues before recommendations can be written," said Karlsson of the board of agriculture, to Swedish Radio News.
The board of agriculture also believes the food agency is too categorical in wanting to recommend people reduce their dairy and meat consumption. The board feels there's not enough of a basis to make that recommendation.
Before deciding on the new guidelines once and for all, the food agency will be going through all the responses they got to the plan they outlined.