Thursday, January 08, 2015

USDA says meat production is bad for the environment, recommends people eat less meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants Americans to eat less meat. USDA, which releases its dietary guidelines every five years, is expected to take into consideration for the first time the environmental impact of eating healthy when it releases its latest guidelines this year, Roberto Ferdman reports for The Washington Post. That means lowering the recommended intake of meat, which spells bad news for the meat industry.

"Carnivores contribute far more to environmental decay than do vegetarians," Ferdman writes. "The livestock industry is responsible for an estimated 15 percent of total global carbon emissions, roughly two-thirds of which is the result of beef production. On a per kilogram basis, the carbon footprint of lamb and beef production is unparalleled."
"Meat industry advocates have been battling the prospect of lowered meat intake recommendations for decades," Ferdman writes. "But those battles have largely been waged on the nutritional health front, and the evidence is mixed on whether meat is actually harmful to your health. As a result, the government now recommends that people opt for leaner meat, instead of less meat."

As expected, the meat industry isn't too happy about the government telling people to eat less meat, Ferdman writes. Industry officials have attacked the idea that meat production is bad for the environment and have questioned "the idea that environmental concerns should influence the dietary guidelines issued by the government." (Read more)

No comments: