Prof. Fanzo shapes Lancet food systems report

January 17, 2019

The average person’s daily diet will need to change drastically during the next three decades to make sure everyone is fed without depleting the planet, a panel of experts including the Berman Institute’s Jessica Fanzo has concluded.

Global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to decrease by about half to make sure the Earth will be able to feed a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050, according to the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems.

Written by 37 scientists from 16 countries and published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet, in conjunction with an advocacy group called the EAT Forum, the report was funded by the Wellcome Trust and Stordalen Foundation. In addition to the recommendations on meat, it calls for curbing food waste, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and overhauling agriculture so it doesn’t worsen deforestation and the depletion of scarce water.

“It’s not a blanket approach, but when you look at the data there are certain individuals or populations that don’t need that much red meat for their own health,” Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics, said in a New York Times interview. “There’s a real inequity. Some people get too much. Some people get too little.”

Fanzo serves as the Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program at the Berman Insitute, and plays key advisory roles in Johns Hopkins’ Alliance for a Healthier World on the food security and nutrition theme, as well as the Bloomberg American Health Initiative on obesity and food systems.

She is currently serving as the co-Chair for the Global Nutrition Report, and is the Team Leader for the High-Level Panel of Experts for Food Systems and Nutrition for the UN Committee on Food Security.

Fanzo also appeared in a Lancet podcast to discuss the need for a transformation in the way we eat, and was quoted in National Geographic’s coverage of the report.