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Volume 5 Issue 4, April 2024

Smart food labelling

Food labels carry information about a product’s identity, ingredients, and allergenic and nutritional properties, as well as how it should be handled, stored and consumed safely. Front-of-package labels are therefore important for consumer protection and should be clear and trustworthy. Technologies such as 3D printing and smart labelling are revolutionizing food labels and packaging to meet evolving demands from consumers and the industry. A newly developed food label based on a water-soluble nanocomposite ink with a high refractive index meets quality standards and protects against counterfeiting, while also reducing waste.

See Kim et al.

Image: Younghee Lee, CUBE3D Graphic. Cover design: Tulsi Voralia


  • Well-designed policies can catalyse food systems transformation, whereas poorly designed ones may perpetuate and even aggravate the food crisis.



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Comment & Opinion

  • The first instalment of the FAO food systems roadmap is a key step in identifying pathways to achieve zero hunger without breaching the 1.5 °C climate change threshold. But future instalments should be more methodologically transparent, emphasize the need to reduce animal-sourced food consumption and align with a holistic One Health approach.

    • Cleo Verkuijl
    • Jan Dutkiewicz
    • Matthew Hayek
  • Data-driven personalized nutrition (PN) can address the complexities of food systems in megacities, aiming to enhance food resilience. By integrating individual preferences, health data and environmental factors, PN can optimize food supply chains, promote healthier dietary choices and reduce food waste. Collaborative efforts among stakeholders are essential to implement PN effectively.

    • Anna Ziolkovska
    • Christian Sina
  • Hybrid intelligence — arising from the sensible, targeted fusion of human minds and cutting-edge computational systems — holds great potential for enhancing the sustainability of agriculture. Leveraging the combined strengths of both collective human and artificial intelligence helps identify and stress-test pathways towards the reconciliation of biodiversity and productivity.

    • T. Berger
    • H. Gimpel
    • W. Weisser
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Matching phosphorus fertilizer applications to optimal thresholds required by crops mitigates the exhaustion of phosphorus resources and promotes agricultural sustainability.

    • Qiumeng Zhong
    • Sai Liang
    News & Views
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Research Briefings

  • We found trade-offs among the environmental and animal welfare impacts of pig farms — those that had low greenhouse gas emissions typically had low land use but poor animal welfare and high antimicrobial use. Some farms performed well in all four impacts, but these farms were not consistently associated with any particular farm or label type.

    Research Briefing
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  • Neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg) in rice poses health risks. This study explores the roles of various cropland microbial communities in MeHg formation on a large scale and identifies that Geobacteraceae are the key predictors of MeHg bioaccumulation in paddy soil systems, which holds the potential for mitigating global mercury exposure.

    • Huan Zhong
    • Wenli Tang
    • Yu-Rong Liu
  • Greenhouse gas emissions, antimicrobial use, land use and animal welfare data representing most global commercial pig production systems show that no single system performs well across all measures, but trade-offs may be avoidable if mitigation measures are implemented within farming systems.

    • Harriet Bartlett
    • Márcia Zanella
    • Andrew Balmford
    Article Open Access
  • A lack of systematized information on existing agri-environmental policies poses challenges for research and practice. A new database with more than 6,000 agri-environmental policies implemented over the past six decades around the world helps fill the gap. This information enables the extraction of valuable insights for policymakers, academics and businesses.

    • David Wuepper
    • Ilsabe Wiebecke
    • Robert Finger
    Analysis Open Access
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Amendments & Corrections

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