CSIRO's newsletter for the food, nutrition and health industries.
In this issue learn how CSIRO has been rapidly adapting to the changing climate and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our regular research has continued, so read on to hear about some of our latest achievements and how you can get involved.
Reducing the environmental impact of your diet
Australian's poor diets as well as global food systems not only increase the nation's waistlines and subsequent health issues but also cause major environmental impacts. Changes from the plate up are being considered internationally as a leading strategy to lessen environmental impact.
As a result, our researchers are plugging a research gap through a range of research investigating this phenomenon. This includes a literature review about dietary strategies that can reduce environmental impact and multiple analyses of the Australian diet to determine the impact of our consumption habits on the environment, including greenhouse gasses, water use and cropland use.
Our team has found that Australian's over-consumption of discretionary or 'junk' foods is not good for the planet, and contributes to a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, water use and cropland use. Discretionary foods, such as alcohol, confectionery, fried foods and processed meat are high in kilojoules, but low or completely lacking in essential nutrients. Therefore the environmental impacts from discretionary 'junk' foods are considered avoidable because they are not a necessary part of a balanced diet. Our analyses have found that eating according to dietary guidelines will help to reduce population dietary environmental impacts.
CSIRO's response to COVID-19
We are involved in key research in the rapid global response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The work builds on our strong history protecting people in Australia and around the world from the threat of infectious diseases. As a collaborative and diverse research organisation, CSIRO is well-equipped for contributing to solving the greatest challenges.
Our first challenge has been to understand this new virus – how long it takes to develop and replicate, how it impacts the respiratory system, how the host responds and how it can be transmitted. Our work is a critical part of the vaccine development pipeline. Our efforts ensure that only the most promising vaccine candidates are moved through to trials on humans. We are also working with government and manufacturers to build local capability and supply of materials to rapidly address demand for medical materials needed to respond to COVID-19.
Through the Australian Government's Innovation Connections program, CSIRO Kick-Start vouchers and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund’s STEM⁺ Business Fellowship program, we are able to offer three levels of matched-funding grants of up to $100,000 for research projects and researcher placements that cater to SME businesses of all sizes.
We are supporting Australian businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. Reach out to talk to us about how we can help.