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Science Translational Medicine
The sustainability of terrestrial food production systems is influenced by factors such as scale; industrialization; mechanization; fossil fuel use; seed, crop and livestock choices; water use; fertilizers; pest control; pollinators; antibiotics; legislation; and levels of commercial versus subsistence food production.
Inequalities exist in food production and distribution around the world.
Food waste is prevalent in both LEDCs and more economically developed countries (MEDCs), but for different reasons.
Socio-economic, cultural, ecological, political and economic factors can be seen to influence societies in their choices of food production systems.
As the human population grows, along with urbanization and degradation of soil resources, the availability of land for food production per capita decreases.
The yield of food per unit area from lower trophic levels is greater in quantity, lower in cost and may require fewer resources.
Cultural choices may influence societies to harvest food from higher trophic levels.
Increased sustainability may be achieved through: altering human activity to reduce meat consumption and increase consumption of organically grown and locally produced terrestrial food products, improving the accuracy of food labels to assist consumers in making informed food choices, monitoring and control of the standards and practices of multinational and national food corporations by governmental and intergovernmental bodies, planting of buffer zones around land suitable for food production to absorb nutrient runoff.