February 2014, vol. 3, special issue 3 (Food Sciences)
Food Sciences of Food Sciences
The development of society is based on the existence of food resources. The past half-century has seen marked growth in food production, allowing for a dramatic decrease in the proportion of the world’s people that are hungry, despite a doubling of the total population. Recently, the FAO predicted a higher increase of the consumption of foods of animal origin by 2050. So far, the increased demand for food has been supplied by agriculture due to an improvement of techniques, an increase of cultivated land areas and an increase of water and energy consumption. The environmental assessment of human activities is presently a hot topic. It is not only important from an ecological perspective, but also from the view of efficient utilization of limited natural resources. The livestock sector that increasingly competes for scarce resources (land, water, and energy) has a severe impact on air, water and soil quality because of its emissions. The environmental impact of food of animal origin is currently quantified by so-called CO2eq-footprints. Therefore, in the future, it will be necessary to achieve a sustainable supply of food, especially of animal origin, because land and other production factors are not unlimited resources. This lecture deals with related problems linked to the production of foods of animal origin and some possible sustainable solutions for the increasing demand of these products, by means of a detailed analysis of the carbon footprint by the livestock, as well as the land requirement, biodiversity, energy and water footprint in livestock production.