Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Meat, eggs and alternatives

Meat, eggs and new alternatives such as soy-meat, Quorn, or lab-grown meat are foods that are often rich in protein and essential micronutrients. However they may also be high in saturated fat and, when processed, in salt. Consumption of meat is very high in most high income countries and is on the rise in middle income countries. While an overly high consumption is associated with ill-health and disease, in countries where people’s diets are lacking in diversity and essential micronutrients – as is the case in many low income countries – animal products can play an important nutritional role. Meat products are also associated with very high GHG emissions; farmed animals contribute some 14.5% of human-made GHG emissions. Animal production also contributes to many other negative environmental impacts including deforestation and associated biodiversity loss, land degradation and soil and water pollution. The production of animals for slaughter and use also raises a complex set of ethical and welfare issues.

8 July 2013

We provided a video in one of our previous newsletters on livestock’s in the global food system. In this Q&A article from Scidev.net we get to hear responses from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) director general Jimmy Smith to questions relating to novel livestock science. 

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2 July 2013

This study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines the approaches taken by NGOs in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden to encourage consumers to reduce their meat consumption in light of climate change.

24 June 2013

This video from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), features ILRI director general Jimmy Smith talking on the role of livestock in the global development agenda.

The 13 minute film points out that 4 of the top 5 agricultural commodities by value are livestock, and that in Africa, 4 of the top 10 agricultural commodities are livestock which indicates the importance of livestock for the global food and poverty agenda.  The presentation also considers the challenges posed by rising demand for meat.

24 June 2013

This study follows a cohort of around 100,000 people over the course of 20 years.  It looks at the associations between changes in red meat consumption and the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). All participants started out as red meat eaters.

18 June 2013

The FAO’s 2013 report this time includes a special section on quinoa. The year 2013 has been declared “International Year of Quinoa” by the United Nations General Assembly, a tribute to a little-known agricultural product with outstanding nutritional and agronomic properties grown almost exclusively in the Andes.

10 June 2013

This campaign has been launched to re-introduce the feeding of waste to pigs. It hopes to encourage farmers about the benefits of feeding pigs surplus food and calls for a change in European law so farmers can return to feeding pigs waste in the long term.

21 May 2013

The rising cost of animal protein, food and feed insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth and increasing demand for protein mean that alternative solutions to conventional livestock and feed sources urgently need to be found. Therefore insects as food and feed emerge as a very important issue of today.

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8 May 2013

The shift towards a more sustainable diet necessitates less reliance on foods of animal origin. This study presents data from a representative survey of Dutch consumers on their practices related to meat, meat substitution and meat reduction.

22 April 2013

The latest United States Department of Agriculture report on global trade in livestock and poultry has been published. The report provides a snapshot of the current situation among the major players in world beef, pork, broiler meat, and turkey meat trade. 

25 March 2013

FCRN network member Hannah Tuomisto has co-authored a life cycle analysis of (hypothetical) in-vitro meat production here: Tuomisto H L, Teixeira de Mattos M J (2011) Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat Production. Environ. Sci. Technol. dx.doi.org/10.1021/es200130u 

25 March 2013

Bill Gates seems to have entered into the meat question.  In his view it is simply not possible to feed 9 billion people on a high meat diet and the way forward is therefore the development of artificial meat and eggs. 

25 March 2013

This paper addresses the relationship between meat eating and climate change focusing on motivational explanations of environmentally-relevant consumer behavior. Based on a sample of 1083 Dutch consumers, it examines their responses to the idea that they can make a big difference to nature and climate protection by choosing one or more meals without meat every week.

11 March 2013

Science Daily summarises the findings of a paper which reports on recent successful attempts to transgenically breed a pig that utilises  phosphorous more efficiently.  The pigs have genetically modified salivary glands, which help them digest phosphorus in feedstuffs, thereby reducing phosphorus pollution in the environment.

4 March 2013

This is an interesting paper because it considers one of the potential nutritional downsides of reducing meat consumption – the risk that iron intakes might be undesirably low. The study finds that a replacement of meat and dairy intakes with plant based substitutes has benefits in terms of reduced land requirements and delivers saturated fat reductions.

11 February 2013

WWF and the Food Ethics Council have jointly published a report which explores the whole idea of eating “less but better” meat.

6 February 2013

New work undertaken by a team at Wageningen University in the Netherlands suggests that many Dutch consumers are interested in reducing their meat consumption without completely becoming vegetarian. The new data find more than three-quarters of consumers questioned have at least one ‘meat free’ day per week and 40% report at least three meat free days per week. The Dutch researchers claim that this trend of flexitarianism is emerging for other nations throughout Europe.

29 January 2013

The European Commission has released a report entitled: Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU from 2012-2022.  The report predicts that total meat production in the EU is expected to decline by 2% over the next two years, due in part to the ban on sow stalls. After the oncoming 2% decline, it may take up to 10 years for the EU meat sector to reach its 2011 production level of 45 million tones. The report also predicted that the EU would see its share of global meat exports decline over the next decade.

7 January 2013

A study regarding the efficiency of beetle larvae (mealworms) as a potential protein source was published in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the University of Wageningen in Netherlands. The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy.

26 November 2012

Russian authorities are considering a proposal put forward by the National Union of Consumers’ Rights Protection, which would tax high-fat products, as well as the use of antibiotics in meat production. The tax rate proposed is 10-20% for meat and dairy products with high cholesterol content. Russian authorities have reacted favourably to the proposed initiative, but there is fear that immediate adoption of the initiative could push meat prices to unpredictable levels, driving some manufacturers out of business.

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