Giving Compass' Take:
- Stephanie Min argues that meat alternatives may need more research to determine their actual impact on environmental, health, and animal welfare benefits.
- How can investing in plant-based meat alternatives help improve research on these products?
- Learn why plant-based meat is the food of the future.
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A new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future finds that further research is needed to determine the impacts of meat alternatives on the environment, animal welfare, and public health.
The article, “Considering Plant-Based Meat Substitutes and Cell-Based Meats: A Public Health and Food Systems Perspective,” summarizes the impacts of traditional meat and its alternatives on the environment, animal welfare, and human health. The study compares plant-based meat substitutes created from vegetable protein, cell-based meat grown from animal muscle tissue, and traditionally farmed meat from whole animals.
Livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and is a major contributor of climate change, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Opponents of farmed meat also raise animal welfare as another concern, citing crowded facilities and painful bodily alterations. And red and processed meat consumption have been associated with increased risks of chronic diseases like coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes.
The lead researcher of the review, Raychel Santo, tells Food Tank that these meat alternatives are often “marketed as a way to address issues” that farmed meat is often associated with. But the study finds that the answers may not be so straightforward.
Read the full article about the impact of meat alternatives by Stephanie Min at Food Tank.