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"Call to eat less meat dubious, irresponsible"

America reacted to the Eat-Lancet Commission study

The publication of the eat-lancet report has raised many reactions in the United States.

"The EAT-Lancet report calling for drastic cuts in meat, dairy and egg consumption to promote a healthier diet and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) is based on dubious science and is irresponsible", said the National Pork Producers Council. According to the NPPC statement, "there is ample scientific evidence supporting the nutritive value of meat, including pork, which has critical vitamins and minerals, such as B12, Heme iron, zinc and potassium. These often are lacking in many diets, particularly in developing countries". “Modern U.S. livestock agriculture is a tremendous example of how the world can produce the nutritious, safe food people need while contributing less GHGs per calorie of food,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio. “The U.N. has said there are ‘limitations to emissions reductions in the agriculture sector particularly because of providing food for a global population that is expected to continue to grow’ and that ‘it would be reasonable to expect emissions reductions in terms of improvements in efficiency rather than absolute reductions in GHG emissions".

In the opinion of KatieRose McCullough, Ph.D., MPH, North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs,"health for people and the planet are two complex issues that demand comprehensive solutions across a range of stakeholders. Food can certainly play a role and following science-based dietary guidance is an important step toward improving people’s health. However, the EAT-Lancet Commission's recommendations differ dramatically from consensus nutrition science and U.S. dietary guidance. Americans consume the recommended amount of meat and poultry, which provide nutrition that cannot simply be replaced by another food. In fact, the report's "fad diet" approach that recommends people radically reduce or even eliminate meat from their diets could have substantial damaging public health consequences. The report also ignores key facts about food and climate. U.S. farmers and ranchers produce more meat and poultry than ever before, using fewer animals, less land and water, and with a smaller environmental footprint. As a result, animal agriculture accounts for just 4% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Zeroing in on meat production and consumption as a climate change “silver bullet” solution distracts from the many changes that are needed across various sectors to create meaningful improvements".

Also National Cattle Beef Association (NCBA), as a contractor to the beef checkoff, is actively monitoring and responding to media covering a report from the EAT-Lancet Commission to transform the food system worldwide.  NCBA leaders disagreed with the commission’s recommendations. NCBA sources point out cattle play a unique role in the food system because they upgrade inedible plants to high-quality protein. For example, studies show 90% of what cattle eat is forage and plant leftovers people can’t eat. Providing further proof the beef industry is sustainable, NCBA is telling reporters data shows the same amount of beef is produced today with one-third fewer cattle than during the 1970s. The U.S. produces 18% of the world’s beef with just 8% of the world’s cattle. “Most people are already eating beef within global dietary guidelines, so we believe the biggest opportunity for a healthy, sustainable diet will come from reducing food waste, eating fewer empty calories and enjoying more balanced meals” a statement from NCBA read.

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