New guidance has been issued to help consumers make healthier and more sustainable choices when purchasing meat and dairy products.
Devised by the Eating Better Coalition, their campaign aims to cut through, ‘confusing and often conflicting advice,’ to give clear guidance on how choices of meat and dairy product have a wider global impact, reports the Guardian.
Focusing on eight key principles, including choosing better for welfare, the climate, animals, nature, health, and feeding the world fairly, the guidance advocates a “less and better,” approach.
It aims to help reduce problems with climate change, antibiotic use, hunger, malnutrition and animal welfare through both education and clearer food labelling.
The coalition is made up of more than 50 civil society groups and is backed by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Compassion in World Farming, among others.
Sue Dibb, the coordinator of the alliance, told the Guardian why the campaign is so important:
“Industrial livestock production is having a devastating impact on our health, animal welfare and the health of the planet. As people are becoming more conscious about what they eat, a less and better approach to meat and dairy provides a positive way forward.”
Advice for health and sustainability
Designed to help people who want to be healthier and more sustainable, without giving up meat and renouncing dairy, the guidance recommends buying smaller amounts of meat to reduce unnecessary waste while also boosting health.
It recommends eating no more than 70g of red meat a day and being mindful of the type of meat purchased.
Selecting lamb instead of chicken, for example, is potentially better for personal health and the environment because sheep are almost certain to have been free range and grass fed, unlike factory farmed chickens or pigs.
Steering clear of intensively reared animals is recommended to help cut down on the widespread overuse of antibiotics, which is a growing global concern as it has the potential to threaten human health.
Cutting through confusing food labelling
The coalition is also calling for better food labelling, using its report to highlight widespread consumer confusion over labels such as, “free range,” which are vague and open to interpretation.
According to the Guardian, it found the “organic,” label is the clearest labelling as it is laid down in EU law and covered by strict guidelines, ‘leaving little room for doubt over the standards required to meet it.’
Rewarding extensive farming not intensive farming
Finally, Eating Better is keen to promote “extensive” instead of “intensive” farming and wants the government to enforce more stringent regulations on factory farming and to curb the spread of “megafarms” across the British countryside.
The timing of the report coincides with the ongoing consultation the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the future of farming after the UK leaves the EU.
Dibb said: “We urgently need the government to play its part. Brexit provides a timely opportunity to put our livestock production and consumption on to a more sustainable footing and to support and encourage farming practices that benefit animal welfare, the environment and our health.”