Sustainability as a Framework for Food Quality: Definition, Criteria, Assessment and Trends

„Sustainability“ has become a term widely (and excessively) used by practically all stakeholders in our food system. By integrating three controversial sets of criteria – ecological, economic and social issues – strong emphasis on one of those can produce a favorable rating for almost any given concept, product, process or operating unit. Recently “sustainability” has been introduced to the description and assessment of the quality of food without actually using a concise and widely accepted framework of criteria.

Lecture and group work with case studies with selected food items of public interest (Possible examples: apples, palm oil, coffee, freshwater fish, avocado, bottled water, beef and milk) in this module aim at developing a profound understanding of sustainability and its underlying principles and historic evolution, the specific issues concerning food quality and helpful strategies and tools for assessment and evaluation. Links to issues covered in other lectures (Examples: How does sensory quality and consumer expectation influence sustainability along the food chain? Is sustainability a useful tool to select raw materials, processing technologies or supply chain options?) and excursions will be highlighted.

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