NFU Scotland welcomes scientific challenge to EAT Lancet claims

NFU Scotland welcomes scientific challenge to EAT Lancet claims

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland praised recent scientific questioning on the reliability of data in the EAT Lancet report, challenging its calls to reduce consumption of unprocessed red meat on health grounds. 

NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy.

An international group of scientists, led by Professor Alice Stanton of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, in its synopsis paper “Consumption of Unprocessed Red Meat Is Not a Risk to Health” have challenged Lancet to respond.

NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy said: “For some considerable time the red meat industry has been taking a pounding from many ill-informed individuals and organisations that fail to fully understand the huge benefits the livestock industry brings to Scotland, from a socio-economic, a climate change and an environmental perspective.”

He continued: “However, one of the biggest and most concerning issues of recent times has been the incessant drive to reduce red meat consumption for the apparent benefit of our health.”

Kennedy added that, given the UK government and policy-makers have been implementing Lancet’s findings in decision making, there were “some serious questions to be answered here, none more important than why this evidence wasn’t peer reviewed and verified before publication.”

He said: “There is now real concern about health problems we may face years down the line due to reduced red meat intake, so we must get to the bottom of this. It is hugely important for the health of the world’s population that any decisions on nutrition and food policy are taken with the most objective and transparent evidence.”

Scotland’s Good Food Nation Bill

NFU Scotland is also calling on the Scottish government to recognise red meat’s role in a healthy, balanced diet ahead of the introduction of Scotland’s Good Food Nation Bill. The bill, which will introduce a legislative requirement on health boards and local authorities to make “good quality, healthy, local food available to all”, is expected by NFU Scotland to make significant progress in 2022.

Kennedy added: “Scotland’s red meat industry has a tremendous story to tell on provenance, quality and sustainability. Our ability to be a major part of balanced diets must not be unfairly undermined at a time when the Good Food Nation Bill is starting its journey through the Scottish Parliament.”

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