ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The problem with "food miles" as an ecological buying guide.

Updated on September 16, 2007

food miles?

By now we all now about the hidden oil in food, and the benefits of eating locally grown foods right?

Foods trucked from around the continent burn millions of gallons of diesel each year, and are a primary contributor to the embedded oil in the foods that we eat, and are a major source of carbon emissions.

Unfortunately, although governments are considering helping consumers to make better ecological food choices by placing food miles stickers (indicating the number of miles something has traveled to market) on foods, food ecology experts have recently criticized the plan. They cite British lamb sold in Britain and New Zealand lamb sold in Britain as an example of the problem.

New Zealand lams is fed at pasture, and then shipped by sea freight to the markets of Britain, and when you consider the food miles alone (11 000!) this seems like a pretty negative food choice; but since British lamb is fed almost entirely by grain feed and not at pasture, the NZ lamb is in fact the far more ecological option. Estimates at the carbon emissions per ton of lamb have the NZ lamb well ahead with only 1520 per ton, compared with the local feed grown lamb at 6280 per ton!

So while the food miles concept may be easily understandable and digestible, and in many cases give an accurate indication of the overall ecological impact of the food, it is not a perfect system.

We need to eat locally, but also seasonally, and eat foods that are indigent to our areas. But we may also need to make use of some environmentally friendly transport, allowing foods to be grown in areas that can do so with minimal impact, and shipping these products out from there.

It's great that consumers are now considering these factors when buying groceries, and it's unfortunate that the decision couldn’t be a bit more cut and dry!

food miles

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      lozz 

      5 years ago

      i think food miles are good and the sheep should be killed cuz they are evil

    • profile image

      leah callis 

      10 years ago

      I liked this article. Anything that gets us to think about what we are putting in our mouths and what that means. It isn't a black or white issue is it, so many things to think about... Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      11 years ago

      this is awesome! thanks. I didn't know about this.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)