Scientific food report: ‘A ludicrous distraction’

It is a ludicrous distraction to suggest that people should have little or no meat and dairy as part of their diet, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) president, Joe Healy.

His comments come as a widely-criticised report was published today (Thursday, January 17) entitled “Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT – Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems”.

The three-year study is a joint initiative of the EAT Forum and The Lancet medical journal.

Healy defended farmers saying: “Irish farmers are engaged in climate action. We have efficient food production systems in Ireland from a climate perspective.

We are the most carbon-efficient dairy producer in Europe and amongst the top five in beef.

“It’s important that this sustainable production is not restricted, as it would lead to increased international climate emissions.”

Healy explained: “This would happen because regions like the Amazon in South America would be deforested to meet this growing demand.”

The IFA president drew attention to the Teagasc climate road map, published in June last year.

Also Read: IFA urges support for Teagasc climate blueprint; but why?

“This represents a clear strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. However, it requires whole of Government support.

The IFA has written to An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and sought his climate leadership in coordinating the key Government departments and state agencies to fully deliver this climate road map.

Concluding, he outlined: “Dietary balance, variety and moderation – combined with an active lifestyle – remain the most important messages we all need to act upon, and this is what public health authorities must focus on.”