Foodfacts.com likes to share a variety of food and nutrition-related topics with our followers. As of recently, we’ve been hearing more about “meatless Mondays”, along with a campaign to help promote this new trend. Here is some more information pertaining to this subject:
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. That’s the figure calculated by the Environmental Working Group, which in a report out today urges the nation to eat less meat and cheese, both for health and the environment.
The call joins a growing movement advocating once-a-week meat-free meals, from an International Meatless Monday campaign and a European Veggie Days movement to decisions by some Catholic bishops to suggest a return to the no-meat Fridays of old.
The EWG report is the most recent in a long list calculating the greenhouse gases emitted in food production.
Lamb, which makes up only 1% of the meat Americans consume, came in highest, at 39.2 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents per pound of meat. Beef was second, at 27.
Cheese was third, at 13.5. That’s much higher than milk, because “it takes about 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese,” says Kari Hamerschlag, who wrote the report.
Frank Mitloehner, who studies animal-environmental interactions at the University of California-Davis, disputes the numbers. Scientific life cycle assessments of meat production “haven’t been conducted,” he says.
The Environmental Protection Agency says only 3.4% of all greenhouse gases are the result of animal agriculture. “By changing the focus to eating habits, people think it doesn’t matter whether they drive a Hummer or a Prius, it’s whether they eat a burger or not.”
Hamerschlag says the group is not asking everyone to be vegetarians. “We’re just urging people to be more conscious about what they eat.”
Kay Johnson Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, Va., says there’s a “hidden animal-activist” agenda behind some of the groups.
Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, says dropping meat and cheese a day a week wouldn’t hurt: “I’m not a vegetarian myself, but people don’t need to eat as much meat as they’re eating.”
(By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)