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Meat and dairy industry must be treated like Big Tobacco, according to scientists

Scientists from The Lancet have released a report titled The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition and Climate Change, in which they call for the meat and dairy industry to be treated the same way as the tobacco industry.

Scientists believe that in order to improve human health and the health of planet, animal agriculture has to be redirected to healthier, more sustainable alternatives to deal with the problems.

The report follows a three year project, in which 43 interdisciplinary experts from 14 countries looked at public health and the link that “malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, under nutrition, and other dietary risks, is leading the cause of poor health globally.”

The report said: “National dietary guidelines serve as a basis for the development of food and nutrition policies and public education to reduce obesity and undernutrition and could be extended to include sustainability by moving populations towards consuming largely plant-based diets.

“However, many countries’ efforts to include environmental sustainability principles within their dietary guidelines failed due to pressure from strong food industry lobbies, especially the beef, dairy, sugar, and ultra-processed food and beverage industry sectors.”

The meat and dairy sectors are responsible for using much of the planet’s resources, and the demand from consumers for animal products is encouraging the industry to continue such practices.

The Lancet’s suggestion that these industries be banned from lobbying governments due to their negative effects on the health of people and the planet, comes at a time when meat and dairy are under scrutiny for their use of resources, and more people are looking to cut their carbon footprint, and consequently are eating fewer animal products.

The report continued by saying: “Only a few countries (i.e Sweden, Germany, Qatar and Brazil) have developed dietary guidelines that promote environmentally sustainable diets and eating patterns that ensure food security, improve diet quality, human health and wellbeing, social equity, and respond to climate change challenges.”

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