Carbon footprint of breton pâté production: A case study


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This study targeted 9 different pork pâtés, produced with pork from different meat production systems (conventional, organic, and other quality certifications). Besides greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the study also included a detailed analysis of product nutrition. Results show that the GHG emissions range from 200 g CO2e per 100 g of product for conventional pork pâtés and 330 g CO2e per 100 g for organic pork pâtés. Results for organic pâtés are an indirect consequence of the lower productivity of swine feed ingredients. However, if the reference flow unit is nutritional indicator (e.g., calories, protein) instead of 100 g of product, results can be inverted. This fact highlights the difficulty of choosing a functional unit for studies on food products. The function of a food product is to provide quality nutrition, but because there are many different nutritional indicators, life cycle assessment practitioners normally use simple comparisons between amounts. This issue together with the choice of emissions allocation method between pork parts are the main sources of uncertainty. Also, the life cycle of pork production is the main hotspot in the C footprint, accounting for more than 80% of the total emissions. Energy spent for processing and packaging, the only life cycle step that the producer controls directly, accounts for less than 10% of the impact. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2013;9:645–651. © 2013 SETAC