Published on December 16th, 2014 | by Andrea Bertoli4
New USDA Beef Program: Beefing up on Health Issues
The new USDA beef program wants to promote meat consumption, despite a clear conflict of interest between improving health and growing animal agriculture.
What is the best diet for us all? Though there may not be just one answer, the consensus is that a plant-based diet, rich with fruits and vegetables is the one that gives us the best health.
There is often confusion about whether or not meat, dairy and grains should be a part of this diet, but most research shows that the majority of our diet should be based on fruits and vegetables, with perhaps a bit of meat, grains and/or dairy added in. But, these added meats and dairy have a very negative impact on our health, as both are linked to increased risk for cancers, bone loss, diabetes and heart disease.
As increasingly more people learn about the negative impact of meat on health, sales of meat in the US is declining. But despite consumer sentiment and tons of research demonstrating that a movement away from meat is a good thing, the new USDA beef program is aimed to increase the amount of beef eaten in the US.
This news of the USDA beef program comes to us from the Physician’s Committee on Responsible Medicine, who note that, “Red meat production and sales have declined as the public has become increasingly aware of the link between meat consumption and chronic disease. For consumer health, this is progress. However, the USDA is now proposing a new ‘checkoff’ program to allocate additional funds—potentially totaling $160 million—towards the promotion and marketing of beef in 2015. And since the USDA also issues national dietary recommendations, this creates a clear conflict of interest.”
The USDA, charged with promoting the health of agriculture and the population, faces a massive conflict of interest here, and is acting in the wrong.
What’s the gist of the promotion? From the USDA beef program document, “USDA is developing a new Beef Promotion, Research, and Information Program authorized under its existing authorities granted by the 1996 Act. The program would enhance available resources, which would help the beef industry address important issues such as exports, beef demand, nutrition, and consumer information. As a result, additional resources could help increase demand for beef both domestically and internationally, thus benefitting cattle producers and the domestic beef industry.”
Rather than siding with major organizations like American Cancer Society and decades of medical research with clear evidence that increased red meat consumption is bad for our health, USDA continues to promote beef in order to support large industrial animal agriculture business.
The new USDA beef program is bad for the economy, bad for the environment and bad for us too.
Grist has documented extensively, “that agribusiness lobbying often comes at the expense of our food system and our tax dollars.”
New USDA Beef Program: What can you do?
Tell the USDA you don’t want your money used to promote meat! The deadline for comments has passed and the document is no longer available, but you can send feedback to the USDA via Facebook, Twitter and more! Tell the USDA you want promotion of fresh fruits, veggies and healthy organic food for all!
Interested in learning more about how animal foods can affect your body? This research is from PCRM:
Red and Processed Meats Increase Risk of Bladder Cancer
Red Meat in Childhood Increases Risk for Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Linked to Eating Red Meat
Iron in Meat Linked to Heart Disease
Even Modest Amounts of Meat Increase Risk for Diabetes
Meat-Eating is a Risk Factor for Developing Diabetes
Red and Processed Meat Endangers Health
Many Ways Meat Causes Colon Cancer
Red and Processed Meat Products Linked to Mortality
Cutting Out Meat Boosts Heart Attack Victims’ Chance of Survival
Red and Processed Meat Linked to Death for Colorectal Cancer Patients
Researchers Discover New Way Meat Causes Heart Disease
More Evidence That Red and Processed Meats Are Deadly