Australia’s dietary guidelines and the environmental impact of food “from paddock to plate”

Manny Noakes, Bradley G Ridoutt, Gilly Hendrie and Brian A Keating
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10193
Published online: 7 October 2013

To the Editor: We agree with Selvey and Carey1 that minimising the environmental impact of the food supply chain is vital. However, we disagree with recommendations that target some food categories. Variation in environmental footprint within a food category can be more important than the variation between categories.2

  • 1 Division of Animal, Food and Health Sciences, CSIRO, Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 Division of Animal, Food and Health Sciences, CSIRO, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, CSIRO, Brisbane, QLD.


Competing interests:

Manny Noakes has undertaken research funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, the Australian Egg Corporation and the Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium, and research on the metabolic and environmental impact of dietary patterns high in protein; she is a coauthor of the CSIRO total wellbeing diet. Bradley Riddout has undertaken research for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Meat and Livestock Australia.

  • 1. Selvey LA, Carey MG. Australia’s dietary guidelines and the environmental impact of food “from paddock to plate”. Med J Aust 2013; 198: 18-19. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Ridoutt BG, Sanguansri P, Freer M, Harper GS. Water footprint of livestock: comparison of six geographically defined beef production systems. Int J Life Cycle Assess 2012; 17: 165-175.
  • 3. Finkbeiner M. Carbon footprinting — opportunities and threats. Int J Life Cycle Assess 2009; 14: 91-94.
  • 4. Rangan AM, Schindeler S, Hector DJ, et al. Consumption of ‘extra’ foods by Australian adults: types, quantities and contribution to energy and nutrient intakes. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009 ; 63: 865-871.
  • 5. Vieux F, Darmon N, Touazi D, Soler LG. Greenhouse gas emissions of self-selected individual diets in France: changing the diet structure or consuming less? Ecol Econ 2012; 75: 91-101.
  • 6. Baker D, Fear J, Denniss R. What a waste: an analysis of household expenditure on food. Canberra: The Australia Institute, 2009.
  • 7. Lipinski B, Hanson C, Lomax J, et al. Reducing food loss and waste: installment 2 of “Creating a Sustainable Food Future”. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 2013.


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