This week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., released the “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health,” a multi-featured tool which includes a website, quiz, interactive lifecycle graphics and other resources intended to demonstrate to consumers how food choices impact their environmental footprint and health.
The report says beef has the second-highest environmental footprint, following lamb, according to a “cradle-to-grave” lifecycle assessment that the group conducted with CleanMetrics, an environmental analysis and consulting firm.
The report encourages people to partake in “Meatless Mondays” and give up meat at least one day a week for their individual health and for the health of the planet. According to EWG, if every American skipped meat and cheese one day a week, environmentally it would be the same as the country driving 91 billion fewer miles a year.
Nebraska Farm Bureau encourages you to post comments to online articles regarding this new report.
Here are some key facts from the beef checkoff:
Beef — Good for you; Good for the Planet
• Eating meatless isn’t a shortcut to saving the planet or eating healthy and may actually do more harm than good.
• Beef is environmentally and nutritionally efficient. Raising a serving of beef today requires less land, water and energy than it did 30 years ago and beef has an 18 percent smaller carbon footprint. Each serving of beef provides 10 essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.
What You Miss Without Beef
Eliminating high-quality animal protein, such as lean beef, from the diet can have a serious impact on public health.
• Not all proteins are created equal. Animal proteins-such as lean beef-are complete high-quality proteins that contain all the essential amino acids (or building blocks) your body needs for optimal health.
• Unlike most plant sources of protein, lean meats such as beef, are the food supply’s most readily available and easily absorbed source of iron and zinc, which are key to muscle growth and good health.
Most Americans are not eating too much beef.
• Americans are not over-consuming beef. The surprising fact is that Americans eat less than 2 oz (1.7 oz) of beef every day, well within Dietary Guidelines recommendations.
Visit BeefNutrition.org for more information about beef and its role in a healthy diet.