New report from Expert Panel on Nitrogen and Food

A new report from the Expert Panel on Nitrogen and Food, of the Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen, quantifies for the first time how much our food choices affect pollutant nitrogen emissions, climate change and land-use across Europe. 

The executive summary of the European Nitrogen Assessment Special Report on Nitrogen and Food, 'Nitrogen on the Table', was released on Friday 25 April 2014. The Special report provides an assessment of what would happen if Europe were to decrease its consumption of meat and dairy products.  It shows how much cutting down on meat and dairy in our diets would reduce nitrogen air and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, while freeing up large areas of farmland for other purposes such as food export or bioenergy.  It also considers the health benefits of reduced meat consumption. The full report is published next month.

Henk Westhoek and colleagues have already prepared a scientific paper giving some details of the analysis being published in the full report in May. Paper reference: Westhoek, H., et al., Food choices, health and environment: Effects of cutting Europe’s meat and dairy intake. Global Environ. Change (2014). The paper (and supplementary material) can be accessed here, or a copy can be obtained from Barnaby Smith (Media Relations Officer at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology,

Further links:

Leip A, Weiss F, Lesschen J P and Westhoek H 2013 The nitrogen footprint of food products in the European Union J. Agric. Sci. 1–14 doi:

Press release from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.