Increased meat consumption ‘harms environment’

Sweden's National Food Administration is to change its recommendations after a study revealed that producing one kilogramme of beef causes the same amount of greenhouse emissions as driving 250 kilometres in a car.

The majority of the emissions is methane from the cattle’s digestion. Once the other aspects of rearing, slaughter and preparation are taken into consideration, the emissions total is far higher than expected – equivalent to using a 100 watt light continuously for 20 days.

The comparisons were revealed in a study by Japan’s National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science and reported in New Scientist, writes Svenska Dagbladet.

According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture the average Swede ate 27 kilogrammes of meat produce in 1990. Fifteen years later, Swedes are putting away around 43 kilogrammes of meat annually.

The rising consumption and its dramatic effect on the environment has prompted the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the National Food Administration to cooperate on providing new recommendations.

“We hope that the new produce advice will be ready at the beginning of next year. The recommendations will take into account how people should choose their food in order to be more environmentally friendly,” said Annika Sohlström, head of the department of nutrition at the foods authority, to Svenska Dagbladet.

“There will possibly also be a recommendation to eat less meat because of its impact on the environment,” she added.