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Match the needs of consumer and producer to achieve sustainability

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Finding a balance between the nutritional needs of consumers and the agricultural practices of producers is key to the sustainable production of red meat, according to Dr Louise Capling (pictured), Nutrition Manager for Meat & Livestock Australia.

Posted on Sep 29 ,04:24

Match the needs of consumer and producer to achieve sustainability

Many consumers feel concerned about climate change and the impacts of their actions and lifestyle choices on the environment, however Dr Capling said reducing food waste may be one of the simplest ways Australians can make a positive impact. 

"We understand that changes in agricultural practices are necessary to achieve sustainable production but at the same time, eating to your needs and avoiding food waste are important for sustainable consumption," Dr Capling said.

Sustainable diets have a low environmental impact and are nutritionally adequate, accessible, and affordable.

"One of the practical ways we can all achieve a sustainable diet is to avoid over-eating and minimise food waste, and this includes enjoying Australian beef in recommended amounts as part of healthy, balanced meals. Australian red meat is an important source of high-quality protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. An average 150g serving of lean beef provides more iron than other animal proteins such as chicken and fish."

Dr Capling said current Australian data showed average per capita consumption of red meat, including beef, lamb, pork, kangaroo, and game meats, is in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines which recommend a portion of 65g cooked lean red meat per day or 455g per week (equivalent to 650g raw weight).

Professionals such as GPs and dietitians have an important role to play in providing practical messages to drive behaviour change and positive outcomes, so that consumers choose the right foods in the right amounts to promote health and minimise food waste.

MLA has published a series of reports that provide directions for health care professionals about the consumption of red meat in a sustainable diet.

"While changing our dietary behaviours can reduce the environmental impact of consumption, research shows that the adoption of new technologies and better production practices has the greatest potential to reduce the environmental footprint of Australian beef, and already some outstanding gains have been made in this field," Dr Capling said.

"For example, through the CN30 initiative, the Australian red meat industry is striving towards being carbon neutral by 2030, and this year’s ABSF Annual Update showed a 58.21% reduction in the emission of carbon since 2005. So, by combining improved production methods with sustainable consumption, and avoiding food waste, we will have the balance right."

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