Denmark Is About To Make A Major Addition To Its Food Labels

The country says the initiative could help allow consumers to contribute to the fight against climate change.

Denmark may soon require its food manufacturers and supermarkets to start labeling food items with stickers that rate each product's environmental impact. The Danish government began discussing the proposal on Tuesday as part of its ongoing effort to promote healthier environmental practices in the country.

Denmark has been working with the European Union to develop a climate label for over a decade."We want to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products," said Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt, per Time.

The labeling plan will reportedly involve a group of supermarkets. It will also include a campaign to help consumers better select environmentally friendly products. Lilleholt revealed to Time that the initiative was reintroduced due to the increased "demand for knowledge about how individual consumers can contribute to improving world climate."

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The Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC) supports the proposed move, although director Morten Høyer cautioned that nutritional value should be considered along with environmental impact when buying food.

"It might be necessary to weigh up the environmental impact against the nutritional value of the product. A bottle of soda may have a low environmental impact, but it is not a product you can live on," he said in a press statement, per CNN.

There's also some work to be done in ensuring the accuracy of the labels before they can be implemented  Many factors contribute to the climate impacts of food, including where it was grown, how far it traveled from its original growth location, what kind of pesticides are used, how much water it required, and more.

"Our goal is to develop an accurate label. We must include every piece of information so products like plant-based substitutes for ground meat has information on the climate impact of the soy in the product which is produced in South America," Høyer told CNN, also adding, "Things like these are difficult to calculate, so we have a worthy challenge ahead of us before we can say with certainty that we have the right solution for a climate label."

Denmark, a signatory of the Paris Climate Agreement, is considering the proposal just days after the release of a landmark U.N. report on climate change. The report concluded that world leaders have only a limited amount of years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before global warming reaches catastrophic levels.

Cover image via  Ekaterina_Minaeva / Shutterstock.

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