Challenge to ‘red meat bad’ claim

The scientific rigour of an influential report which paved the way for official government advice to reduce the consumption of meat has been challenged by an international group of medical researchers.

Led by Professor Alice Stanton of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the academics have claimed that the consumption of unprocessed red meat is not a risk to health, in a challenge to the claims made in the EAT Lancet journal which has been widely used to justify advice to eat less red meat.

Supporting the challenge, NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy said that for some time the red meat industry had been taking a pounding from many ill-informed individuals and organisations.

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“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.”

He said scientists had voiced concerns about the report, which claimed a huge increase over a two-year period in global deaths due to red meat.

“Given that governments and policy-makers have been making decisions based on these figures, there are some serious questions to be answered here, none more important than why this evidence wasn’t peer reviewed and verified before publication.”

Kennedy said there was now concern about health problems which could arise in the future due to the lack of red meat intake. “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.”

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